The Detroit Lions (8-8) will travel to Lambeau Field on Sunday to face off against the Green Bay Packers (8-8) in a make-or-break game that could send the Lions to the NFC Playoffs. Currently, the Lions sit eighth in the NFC playoff picture, one position ahead of the Packers having won the first head-to-head matchup in Week 9, a dull 15-9 victory where the Lions heavily relied on turnovers and their defense. In order for the Lions to advance to the playoffs, the Lions need to obviously win on Sunday night, and require the Seattle Seahawks (8-8) to lose against the Los Angeles Rams (5-11). For the hot Packers, it’s a “win and you’re in” situation, making quarterback Aaron Rodgers the master of his own destiny. Currently, the Packers are four and half points favorites over the Lions; however, I will give you the biggest insight on why the Lions will beat the Green Bay Packers.
Detroit’s Offensive Prowess
Offensive coordinator Ben Johnson deserves a ton of credit for what he has been able to accomplish in his first season at the position. Johnson joined the offensive staff back in 2019, and was heavily involved in the passing game in head coach Dan Campbell’s first season. This season Johnson has proved to Campbell why he was promoted to the head position. Johnson has schemed success for the Lions offense, which has been dominant on the ground all season (ranked eleventh in the league in rush yards per game), headed by two stud running backs in Jamaal Williams and D’Andre Swift. Last week against the Bears, the two combined for 274 scrimmage yards and three total touchdowns (two rushing, one receiving). Williams and Swift make a unique combination that rotates from power to speed, smashmouth to off the edge, and truck to juke.
In addition to the run game, the receiving group has excelled and overperformed all season. Amon-Ra St. Brown has been the focal point of the air game, supported by solid receivers in DJ Chark, Josh Reynolds and Kalif Raymond. St. Brown’s production has only improved from his rookie season, catching 100 passes (7th in the league) this season for 1,112 yards (12th). His multi-use ability makes him unique and flexible, keeping him on the field, allowing him to work in the slot or outside the numbers.
In contrast, Green Bay’s defense has lived up to their preseason hype in recent weeks. Last week, cornerback Jaire Alexander locked down Justin Jefferson, and on Christmas Day, the Packers picked off Tua Tagovailoa three times in the second half. So can Detroit really combat that? In my opinion, I see this game being completely up to quarterback Jared Goff and his surrounding offensive pieces.
I realize that in the last matchup it was all about the defense, and Kerby Joseph’s two interceptions. However, I just cannot see this game having the same result. Expect a huge game filled with lots of offense!