This time around, the Lions have their hands full on multiple fronts on offense and defense against the Packers and will be facing down a tough game on Sunday on the road at Lambeau Field. Perhaps the lack of fans will play to Detroit’s advantage, but the game will still be won or lost based on what happens in between the lines.
To that end, what do the Lions have to remember as they get going this week? Here’s a look at the most important matchups they will face on the field this week.
Aaron Rodgers vs. Detroit’s Secondary
As with most years, this is a huge variable to watch, but this season it seems to count for more. Rodgers started off his 2020 season in hot fashion with 4 touchdowns. Now, he gets to face a Detroit secondary which is very dinged up on the young season. They will be without Justin Coleman and perhaps also Desmond Trufant. That means it could be a big test for Detroit’s rookie Jeff Okudah. Will he have it in his first game as a pro? Talk about baptism by fire. Expect Rodgers to test the mettle of this group from start to finish in this game, and with Davante Adams looking good, that could be trouble for the Lions if they cannot measure up.
Lions Defensive Front vs. Aaron Jones
Detroit was worked over again up front to the tune of 149 yards, so they have to find a way to improve at shutting down the run. It’s been a common problem for them in recent seasons. Jones will roll into the matchup and have to feel good about his chances of having a big day given how poorly the Lions have done at bottling up rushing attacks. If Detroit can hold the Packers down as they did at times in 2019, they can find a way to win. A solid running game, however, would mean easier throws down field. The Lions have to be very careful up front.
Packers Linebackers vs. T.J. Hockenson
If there’s one area the Lions may be able to exploit on offense, it’s Hockenson getting things turned up in he second level against a Packers pass defense which allowed a few big plays late in the game last week. Hockenson impressed with 56 yards and a touchdown for the Lions, and was a very strong pass catching option for Detroit. Last season, the Lions didn’t get much from Hockenson in his first game against the Packers, but that could change this time as he looks primed to be able to do some damage over the middle of the field. If Green Bay can’t contain Hockenson first, it could be a long day for their defense.
Adrian Peterson vs. Packers Front
Peterson has never minded matching up against the Packers in the NFC North. Interestingly, in his career head to head in the division, he’s done the most against them, with 1,975 yards and 16 scores to his credit. Last week, Peterson looked like Detroit’s most durable option at running back, rumbling for a solid 93 yards. Providing the Lions ride him and don’t get too cute, Peterson has the chance to inflict some damage given the fact that the Vikings gashed the Packers in the trenches a bit with their running game. Peterson continues to look solid and could have another big week in store if only the Lions decide to use him and give him the bulk of the carries.
Lions vs. Referees
It might seem like a silly matchup to call out, but the truth is, this is a very real factor in the game for Detroit. The Lions lost last season thanks to some close calls, and now, that very same referee group will be in the house on Sunday. What will they have for an encore, and can the Lions keep their composure well enough to have a successful day on the field? These are big questions, and the hope is that the referees do not play a large role in the outcome relative to the last time these teams met at Lambeau Field.
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