The Detroit Lions have one more regular season game left in the 2014 season. They have already wrapped up a playoff berth for the first time since 2011. So what do they have left to play for before the playoffs? The NFC North championship and a first round bye in the playoffs. The Lions say they are amped up for this game and Jim Caldwell has said this was his goal since the season started, playing to win the NFC North championship. Do they have what it takes this season to beat Green Bay in Wisconsin, where they have not won since 1991?
- Detroit Lions Offensive Line vs. Green Bay Packers Defensive Line – This is a difficult call as the Packers run a 3-4 which means their sacks and overall pass rush comes from their linebackers and not from the defensive line. That being said, The Lions are going with rookie right tackle Cornelius Lucas due to the loss of LaAdrian Waddle and Rookie center Travis Swanson in place of suspended center Dominic Raiola. On top of that, the Lions offensive line has been terrible every step of the way this season. Edge Packers
- Detroit Lions Tight Ends vs. Green Bay Packers Linebackers – The Detroit Lions tight ends did not have a single catch in their match up against the Bears. While Ebron has improved his blocking since the start of the season, he has been a non-factor all season. The first round pick out of North Carolina needed to show more by now in order to get any consideration as a threat. The Packers linebackers are very good and therefore are the obvious pick here Edge Packers
- Detroit Lions Wide Receivers vs. Green Bay Packers Secondary – The Packers secondary is very good and Calvin Johnson was not at full strength against them last time these teams met. The Lions still won that game convincingly. This time around, the Lions have a very healthy receiver group and can make some noise against the Packers defense. Edge Lions
- Detroit Lions Running Backs vs. Green Bay Packers Run Defense – The Packers run defense allows an average of 120 rush yards per game. Last week, with a healthy Reggie Bush and Joique Bell, the Lions ran for 130 yards and 2 touchdowns. While I am not yet ready to give Detroit the edge in rush offense, I am not willing to give Green Bay an edge there given that Detroit is very likely to get to Green Bay’s per game average this week which means their defense did not stop the run. Edge None
- Detroit Lions Quarterbacks vs. Green Bay Packers Pass Defense – This match up takes a lot of thought. Last time these teams met, Detroit played well and won. This time, Detroit’s pass offense, especially Matthew Stafford, has struggled. They are miserable against top 10 pass defenses and Green Bay is ranked 10th. I think Green Bay shuts Stafford down at home. Edge Packers
- Detroit Lions Defensive Line vs. Green Bay Packers Offensive Line – The Lions defensive line is great and needs to be on fire for the Lions to have any chance here. They did not get much pressure on Rodgers last time. If they want to win, they need to get 4 sacks minimum. Edge Lions
- Detroit Lions Linebackers vs. Green Bay Packers Tight Ends – Detroit’s linebackers have played great this season given who is starting. Last time these teams met, Stephen Tulloch got hurt and Tahir Whitehead needed to step in. This time, Whitehead has had several games in as the starting middle linebacker. Andrew Quarles, Green Bay’s tight end, has not had much in terms of production for the Packers either. Edge Lions
- Detroit Lions Secondary vs. Green Bay Packers Wide Receivers – The Packers will bring out Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, and Davante Adams against the Lions secondary. The secondary has given up more pass yards later in the season than they did in the earlier parts of the season. Based on that, the Packers receivers will have their yards and at least one touchdown if not two. Edge Packers
- Detroit Lions Run Defense vs. Green Bay Packers Running Backs – The Lions run defense has dominated all season. The Bears challenged the Lions run defense last week and Detroit stood tall. They are still leading the league with only 63.8 yards allowed per game. Eddie Lacy has played well lately but he will have his work cut out for him. Edge Lions
- Detroit Lions Pass Defense vs. Green Bay Packers Quarterbacks – The Lions pass defense is ranked 13th in the league. Aaron Rodgers has played fantastic since the Packers last lost to the Lions. I expect him to light up the Lions this time around. Edge Packers
- Detroit Lions Special Teams vs. Green Bay Packers Special Teams – These teams are pretty evenly matched on special teams. Last week, Detroit’s special teams almost cost them the game. They had a blocked field goal, a roughing the kicker penalty on a punt on 4th and 23, and a fumbled kickoff return that led to a Chicago touchdown. If they play like that this week against the Packers, the game is lost. I expect them to play better than last week but not well enough to earn the edge. Edge None
Lions 4 Packers 5
This match up is closer than I expected it to be. I feel like home field advantage will win out and the Packers will win this match up. The Lions defense is for real. In week 17, for the defense to be ranked 2nd behind Seattle, and to be the best run defense in the league, they have a chance against anyone. The problem is the offense. I do not think they are complete enough to beat Green Bay in Green Bay.
Detroit 13 Green Bay 24