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Cory's Corner: Consistent pressure will beat Lions

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Cory's Corner: Consistent pressure will beat Lions

Aaron Rodgers has been the best quarterback in the league over the last six weeks. He hasn’t thrown a pick in 206 pass attempts and he’s completing 44 percent of his passes on throws of 20 yards or more during that span. And Matthew Stafford has completed 70 percent or better in five games this season.

But this game isn’t about the quarterbacks. It’s about the defensive front sevens.

Green Bay has been hampered all season after its No. 1 cover corner Sam Shields went down with a concussion in Week 1. The Packers have filled the cracks with Damarious Randall, Quinten Rollins and LaDarius Gunter, but none have proven capable of filling Shields’ shoes.

That was evident when the Packers hosted the Lions in Week 3. Marvin Jones, who had been known as a complementary receiver for his three-year career with Cincinnati, torched Green Bay for 205 yards. That was the most he has ever racked up in a game — by a whopping 83 yards.

So if Clay Matthews, Julius Peppers, Nick Perry and Mike Daniels cannot get consistent pressure on Stafford, he will pick them apart. Even though Stafford is still learning to throw with his dislocated finger and torn ligaments in the middle finger of his throwing hand — one touchdown, four interceptions and a 66.5 rating since the Week 14 injury — Stafford is still dangerous.

The Lions are dealing with their own defensive back problems. Darius Slay, who many regard as the top cover corner in the NFC North, has had two hamstring injuries this year and missed the Week 16 game at Dallas because of it. Even if Slay plays, you can bet that Rodgers will test him early to see how well it responds.

Because of that, Detroit’s only chance to stop another Rodgers’ victory march is to bring pressure. But that doesn’t bode well either since the Lions are 29th in sacks with just 25. The last time the Lions had more than two sacks in a game was in Week 8 against Houston’s Brock Osweiler.

The Packers have the opportunity to put this game away early. The moment the Lions turn into a one-dimensional offense is when Stafford presses and makes a mistake.

The Packers’ secondary cannot be counted on to maintain leads anymore after a 17-point advantage melted away in chilly Chicago. Their best bet is to attack with pressure and hope that the secondary can maintain their coverage in the time it takes to get Stafford out of the pocket.

And that’s why Rodgers’ legs are so important. If the Lions bring the heat, he has proven that he is healthy enough to scamper seven yards for a first down. Stafford will run if he has to, but that clearly isn’t his best option.

Rodgers and Stafford are the best quarterbacks in the NFC North. But it’s how the position is defended is what will ultimately determine the league champion with the carrot of hosting a playoff game. 


Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on "Clubhouse Live" and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He recently earned his Masters degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter: @Coryjennerjohn

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (13) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Bearmeat's picture

Come on Corey,

You know that if Green Bay gets up by 14+, Capers will go into his shell and the Leos will quickly score. The game is going to be won by Aaron scoring like crazy and turnovers.

croatpackfan's picture

I think that every game is more about pressure on the QB than count on the secondary. Even shut down corner may have problems to cover guy more than 3 to 4 seconds, and all of you knows that, but it is easier to spit on secondary...
It may sound strange, but everything falls exactly what I expected - the hardiest game was against Bears, little easier against Vikings, the easiest on the 3 game span will be against Detroit. Still it will not be easy game, just easiest, because self confidence growths with every good play when you have young team. As Packers have. Self confidence is very important in execution game plans and I believe Packers will win...

Since '61's picture

Cory - you are correct in that getting pressure on the QB will be a factor in this game. However, we cannot expect to get to the QB on every play. I'm hoping that we get to Stafford early and not let him feel comfortable in the pocket all game. Get him off his spot and moving his feet. that gives us the best chance for poor throws and a pick or two. His numbers since his hand injury tells us that he is already off, hit him early and get him moving around back there and he can beat himself. If not he is capable enough to torch our secondary. On the other side our OL is playing excellently and I expect that to continue. The Lions will need to respect Monty and that makes Rodgers deadly with play action. Score early to take the crowd out of the game and then keep moving the chains. Go Pack Go! Thanks, Since '61
BTW Cory - The Packers and Lions are playing for NFC North Championship not the league championship, that comes early in February 2017. Got you twice today, sorry.

Bert's picture

Our secondary just isn't very good and will get killed without pressure up front. Big games from CM and Perry will be huge tomorrow and going forward. Peppers has fresh legs too so that will be a big help. Our secondary isn't good enough to compete against a good QB without some help.

Tundraboy's picture

Spot on '61
"Score early to take the crowd out of the game and then keep moving the chains. "

This is not the Vikings, Lions can come all the way back if we let them. Need BIG lead this week.

Dzehren's picture

This will be a high scoring affair- both teams have secondary issues. Over/under is 49.5.

AROD and the OLine will Take the game over.

EdsLaces's picture

Peppers has been making some plays lately as has Clay. We need those 2 more than ever tomorrow. Everyone better bring their A game because I don't see the giants beating the skins with no real reason to have the starters in.

PETER MAIZ's picture

I think playing Burnett as a hybrid may be needed. I just think other decisions by dreaded Dom during the latter quarters may blow this game. We have a porous secondary. At least Gunter may help some.
It's been a mystery to me why Joe Whitt can't get Randall and Rollings playing better. Could Dom Capers' defense be too complex to understand?
Putting pressure on Stafford and turnovers may be the only way. Remember, Stafford has been there, done that and has improved under Billy Bob's guidance.
Green Bay has the advantage that's it has found a running game and Detroit doesn't have one. If Slays hammies slow him down, Rodgers may have a fun game with Jordy.

croatpackfan's picture

May I suggest injury as explanation? Groin injury specifically...

egbertsouse's picture

Pressure on the QB is the name of the game. That is why I wish that TT would get over his man-crush on DBs and get some pass rushers. Just think how much better Randall and Rollin would look if we had Von Miller or Khalil Mack opposite CMIII.

Tundraboy's picture

That's for sure. Would make everyone better.

dobber's picture

Lions have apparently just added starting RT Reilly Reiff (who is only average) to the injury report as questionable with a hip problem. It's usually bad news to see someone come on to the injury report this late in the week.

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

Pride of Detroit doesn't seem to think Reiff's back-up (sorry, I have forgotten the guy's name) is a big downgrade. Still, makes them thinner at OT and there probably is some downgrade.

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