The Detroit Lions (2-1-1) head to Lambeau Field on Monday night refreshed from a well-deserved week’s rest. Despite an injury-plagued roster in Week 4, the Lions almost pulled off an “impossible” victory against the then-undefeated Kansas City Chiefs and provided the very blueprint for the Indianapolis Colts to do just that against the Chiefs in Week 5.
The Green Bay Packers (4-1) are feeling good about themselves after a 34-24 thrashing of the Dallas Cowboys on the road. It was a fabulous, textbook presentation of football at its finest. The additional 14 points that the Cowboys put on the board in the fourth quarter were little more than garbage time points.
Date: Sunday, October 14, 2019
Start Time: 8:15 p.m. EDT
Location: Green Bay, WI
Stadium: Lambeau Field
Series History: Packers lead 100-72-7
Prior to previewing Monday’s Lions-Packers matchup, let’s first acknowledge how tough the NFC North division is. Five games into the 2019 season, the NFC North is the only division in the NFL that has no team with a losing record.
The Lions are a team loaded with talent on both sides of the ball. After a lackluster Week 1 tie in the Arizona desert, Detroit has been all about business.
The Lions’ defense is tenacious and is not indicative of their 27th-best ranking. This defensive unit is tough and responds well to the hawkish play-calling implemented by their coaching staff. I expect the Lions’ defense to pressure Rodgers early and often. Their defensive backs will be physical with Packers wide receivers Davante Adams and Geronimo Allison at the linebackers. Cornerbacks Justin Coleman and Darius Slay will have career-high days against the 25th-ranked Packers offense.
However, it will be the Lions’ offense that wins this game for Detroit. Stafford is much better than his 18th-best passer rating and the veteran is finally making much better decisions in the pocket; he has thrown only two interceptions this season.
Lions wideouts Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones, Jr., combined with rookie tight end T.J. Hockenson, will light up the Packers’ secondary with Hockenson aleady making a strong case for NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year with this game.
Lions running back Kerryon Johnson will provide a great relief valve for them and provide a “steady as she goes” vibe for the Lions offense. Look for at least 20 touches and a 100-yard game from Johnson.
The Packers are hurting heading into Week 6. They had 20 players on Thursday’s injury list. Out of a 53-man roster, that’s huge, as it’s almost 38% of their roster.
However, they have a healthy Aaron Rodgers. That, too, is huge. Rodgers is a true leader now in that even when he’s not playing his best, he inspires his teammates to play their best. He’ll do that on Monday night with his decimated team.
However, with Davante Adams out, it will be tough going for the Packers quarterback. Running back Aaron Jones will need to deliver another career-best game for the Pack, one just like last week against the Cowboys where Jones amassed 182 scrimmage yards and a franchise-record four scores. The Packers will need receiver Geronimo Allison to step up big, too.
For the Packers’ defense, it’s all about the secondary — and their cornerbacks and linebackers, specifically. For the Packers to shut down the Lions’ offense, cornerbacks Kevin King and Jaire Alexander along with linebackers Blake Martinez, Za’Darius Smith, and Preston Smith must play smart, mistake-free football, wary of the play-action pass.
— Gabriel Schray (@schrayguy) October 7, 2019
This is a winnable game for the favored Packers, but it will not be as easy as the oddsmakers would have us believe. Along with their injuries, the Pack might just be a bit overconfident coming off their drubbing of the Cowboys last week.
“I’ve accomplished a lot statistically in this league. I just want to win now.” —rejuvenated Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers on his philosophy this season
Fodder for Thought
- The Packers are 1-1-1 against the Lions on Monday night.
- Matthew Stafford is just 352 yards away from passing the 40,000-yard career passing yardage mark.
- Stafford is also one touchdown pass away from his 35th against the Packers. With a touchdown pass on Monday night, Stafford will break his tie with Hall of Famer Johnny Unitas for most passing scores against the Packers.
- The Lions’ defense is allowing an NFL-best 1.76 yards in red zones it is defending.
- Detroit safety Tracy Walker had a career-high 12 tackles against Kansas City.
- Rodgers has a passer rating of 109.4 against the Lions at home, winning seven of nine and tossing 17 touchdowns plus three interceptions.
- Should the Packers win, it will mark their first 3-0 start in the NFC North since 2012.
This is not the 2018 Detroit Lions. This team is for real. They like their aggressive defensive-minded head coach Matt Patricia. More importantly, they like playing for him. They also respect and thrive under the leadership of veteran Matthew Stafford.
The Packers are finally back for Green Bay fans after two subpar seasons marred by nagging injuries to Aaron Rodgers and head coach drama with Mike McCarthy. Now with new head coach Matt LaFleur and a healthy Aaron Rodgers, the Packers are a team far removed from the lower half of .500. Every week, the Packers come to play.
Monday night’s matchup between these two long-time rivals looks to be the best one of MNF in 2019 to date. The Lions have beaten the Packers in their past four meetings. Monday night will be no different.