Key Battles, Week 9 Edition: Detroit at Green Bay

With a win Monday night, Green Bay can set a positive course for the season's second half. Here are some of the key battles for the showdown against the Lions. 

It feels like eons ago that the Packers last played, though the bitter aftertaste from the second-half collapse against New Orleans has yet to go away. Monday night offers an opportunity to not just cleanse the palate, but pick up a key division win, avoid slipping to .500 and set the team’s direction for the second half of the season. 
 
Here are some of the key battles for Green Bay’s Monday night showdown with Detroit. 
 

Nelson, Adams and Cobb against middling Lions secondary 

There were times against the Saints when Jordy Nelson, Davante Adams and Randall Cobb found open space. There’s reason to believe they’ll do the same against a Lions secondary that has demonstrated there are yards to be had. The problem against New Orleans was that Hundley didn’t appear to see his receivers getting open. Having put in extra time over the bye week, the guess here is he’s reviewed the Saints film and will be more willing to pull the trigger come Monday night. It’s not just a matter of taking shots downfield—Hundley will be best served to find a rhythm with short passes that let his winning trio get yards after the catch. 
 

Jones-led ground game against stingy run ‘D’ 

Those expecting rookie upstart Aaron Jones to tack on another 100-yard rushing performance likely haven’t paid much attention to Detroit’s stingy run defense. The Lions’ defense is among the best in the league across metrics, from yards per carry (3.6) to total rushing yards. Jones must still be a focal point—in fact, it makes sense at this juncture to design the entire game plan around him—but if the going is tough, and the expectation here is that it will be, then getting Jones involved in the passing (hint: screen) game could prove vital. 
 

Capers vs. Stafford

Dom Capers has a history against successful veteran quarterbacks, and it’s not pretty. As multiple Packers outlets reported this week, the hot seat may finally be heating up for the league’s longest-tenured defensive coordinator. Working in Capers’ favor this week is the return of Morgan Burnett, arguably the team’s most important defender in 2017. Burnett’s return should shore up the communication lapses, like that which resulted in only 10 men on the field during a scoring play against New Orleans. A closer-to-full-health Packers secondary, on paper, looks like a good matchup for the Lions. But Detroit is one of those teams that’s never totally out of it, and Matt Stafford is usually the reason why.
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Comments (28)

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GBPDAN1's picture

November 04, 2017 at 08:07 pm

"Monday night offers an opportunity to not just cleanse the palate , but pick up a key division win"

Please win!! This would get me (and I'm sure a lot of us) back into this season. Been having a off-season feel after the NO game, partially due to lack of confidence in this team without AR.

I hope Hundley shows us something in this game to give us hope!

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dobber's picture

November 04, 2017 at 04:44 pm

...and, Dave, note that the pallet you indicate is something you stack stuff on. You wanted "palate".

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dnicholson's picture

November 04, 2017 at 07:18 pm

Dang it. Thanks, will correct.

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The TKstinator's picture

November 05, 2017 at 07:58 am

Although I’ve been known to stack chicken wings on a pallet.

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dobber's picture

November 05, 2017 at 06:44 pm

Huh...usually I just eat them.

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NickPerry's picture

November 06, 2017 at 04:31 am

"This would get me (and I'm sure a lot of us) back into this season. Been having a off-season feel after the NO game, partially due to lack of confidence in this team without AR."

Wow you NAILED it. There is "a off-season feel" to this season right now. Part of it the 15 day break but mostly it's because I have the same feeling you do. I lack confidence in the Packers without AR.

BUT I've come around a little bit. I'm starting to think the Packers can't be THAT bad of football team. I'm just not sure if it's purely the "Homer" coming out it me. Considering I've long felt this team is 6-10 team or worse without Rodgers it must be the Homer in me. I lost confidence in Capers YEARS ago and McCarthy after the 2014 NFCCG.

Look at what's happened to the Rams as soon as they got a coach capable of making adjustments. The Packers HC, DC, and GM are all stubborn and slow to react. I think we're in for a loooooong season. I think by the Carolina game Rodgers won't have to worry about coming back because we'll be talking about where the Packers are drafting. Top 10 or just outside the Top 10.

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flackcatcher's picture

November 04, 2017 at 03:24 pm

Oh come on David, you know better this. NFL is a pass to run league. The rules dictate that. There only a handful of teams that run to pass (Dallas, Chicago in the NFC for example). Jones is nice, but at this time he is an add on with limited value to this Packer offense. For better or worse this offense revolves around Hundley, so he better preform. This is what happens when the owners 'try' to make the game more exciting. Sometimes it is better to leave things alone. (Too much of this master's of the universe crap going on. ) With the rule changes, DB is the most important position, and the hardest to acquire in the NFL. Outside of Rodgers, Burnett is the most important player on this team. Packers front office will have a very tough decision to make on him next year. As for Capers, that's a bunch a BS internet rumors and sports reporters wishing for a story. When your secondary collapses, and the last man standing is Josh Hawkins, all a coach can do at that point is pray... As I said after the N.O. game, the coaching staff on both sides of the ball lost this game. I have never seen a MM coaching staff so out of it during a game. It was truly shocking. At this point I don't know these teams, and neither do their coaches either. We'll find out on Monday.

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DD's picture

November 04, 2017 at 07:07 pm

I have many times. Playoffs: Atlanta, Seattle, Cardinals. Won divisional titles because of Rodgers, not MM or DC. So?

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DD's picture

November 04, 2017 at 04:15 pm

Article said Capers has had success against veteran QB's.....when in the hell has this happened? Capers and his fricking schemes will have Spamford and the Lion receivers look like HOFers. Maybe the running back too. Marl it!

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dnicholson's picture

November 04, 2017 at 04:25 pm

I wrote this:

"Dom Capers has a history against successful veteran quarterbacks, and it’s not pretty."

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DD's picture

November 04, 2017 at 04:19 pm

I just don't have much faith MM or DC. Paint the picture anyway you wish, but painted pigs are still pigs. Eye test Monday night. Let's be fair though and give MM and DC a chance to prove us wrong; we'll see. If not, clean the outhouse.

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Bearmeat's picture

November 05, 2017 at 05:22 am

In order for GB to save its season, it NEEDS to win the next two games. They are MUST WINS. And frankly, I don't see how they can do it without scoring more than 25 in both games. Our defense has been bad since 2010. It is WELL past time for Capers to go, but it hasn't happened. WHY?

And TT did NOTHING to add to the pass rush this offseason. A 4th round OLB and a last minute old-guy pickup doesn't count.

Ugh.

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dobber's picture

November 05, 2017 at 06:37 am

"t is WELL past time for Capers to go, but it hasn't happened. WHY?"

I think it's the free complementary breakfasts...

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NickPerry's picture

November 05, 2017 at 07:28 am

Does it really surprise you it took Ted until the 4th round BM? I mean this is a team that's gone without a RB, Safety, or TE for YEARS at a time. I also have to question Thompson for Capers still being here. I'm sure McCarthy's staff is HIS staff and Thompson supports McCarthy's choices. But at some point Thompson needs to step in, and I'm not talking about 6 or 7 years later. Even though that's EXACTLY how long it's taking.

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Bearmeat's picture

November 05, 2017 at 09:30 am

Yeah NP. I'm not surprised. I was calling this turd out well before FA even began last year. Actually, for years now... :(

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Handsback's picture

November 05, 2017 at 07:39 am

I'm surprised and maybe wrong how quickly people have forgotten about the Packers RB Ty Montgomery and what he can do for this team. I like Jones, but I also don't see him as the weapon Monty can be. With his ribs in better shape and probably can now take those deep breaths, I expect him to have a good game this week. Especially if the Lions are focusing on the WRs and TEs.

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RobinsonDavis's picture

November 05, 2017 at 08:28 am

The previous match-up wins vs. Stafford were a result of placing a great deal of relentless pressure on him and the Packers taking control of the game offensively. Has everybody forgotten the play of Nick Perry and the D-line last year? I do not believe the formula has changed from one game to the next. I will be looking for the D-line to "turn it up" and look for the secondary to improve. With Randall now unlikely to play, and Brice & Rollins on the IR, it will be interesting to see who will be covering the slot. Pray that House, King, & Burnett stay healthy.

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EdsLaces's picture

November 05, 2017 at 10:51 am

What happened to Josh Jones ? He needs to be in the game more. He was killer early in the season at or near the line of scrimmage....get him back in there.

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DukeDivine's picture

November 05, 2017 at 02:47 pm

As soon as Arodge went down it seems Dom has rushed 3-4 and sat back in zone refusing to send Jones or any extra rusher for that matter. Dynamic Domfounded Capers scheming again! Since he's been DC they have not been able to play zone effectively AND most of the DBs strengths are in man coverage. Let's get gashed in zone anyway, ey Dom?

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

November 06, 2017 at 01:08 am

DC rushing just 3 or 4 guys is not my impression. Seems to me that DC has been blitzing at a pretty high rate. I do agree that Josh Jones hasn't been sent much lately. He played only 30 snaps against MN, but quite a few against NO. I agree that we need to give him a few rushing opportunities each game.

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Bearmeat's picture

November 05, 2017 at 01:00 pm

Guys,

Down here in South GA, I'm often stuck watching the Falcons, Bucs and Jags on local TV.

The Saints are playing the Bucs right now. And their defense looks FANTASTIC compared to ours. THE SAINTS! And they've been in cap hell for years! But because Payton and Loomis know they'll get fired if they didn't improve on defense, they've done everything they could to improve the unit - including FIRING coordinators, until they got it right.

Let that sink in: THE SAINTS HAVE A BETTER DEFENSE THAN US NOW.

Pa.the.tic.

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Finwiz's picture

November 05, 2017 at 01:14 pm

We saw the Saints have a clearly better defense when they played the Packers in the last game at Lambeau, didn't we? I don't think that's any huge revelation unless it just became clear to you today.

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Bearmeat's picture

November 05, 2017 at 01:33 pm

Well, I kind of glossed over them because they've hardly been facing offensive juggernauts. Including GB without Hundley. But they are straight up dominating the Bucs today.

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Finwiz's picture

November 05, 2017 at 07:00 pm

They did totally dominate, and the Saints are on a roll. Playing well.
I wish we had the Saints defense, and their D-coordinator.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

November 06, 2017 at 02:00 am

IDK about the Saint's defense. NO played the #7, #9 and #13 offenses and gave up 34.3 pts/game. They've done well against poor offenses: TB (21st), Carolina (24th), Chi (27th) Miami (32nd). Those teams average offensive ranking is 19th. I don't know where to place the AR-less GB team NO played. With Hundley, we put up 10 and 17 points. The 17 points we scored against NO would be good for the 26th or 27th ranked offense in the NFL. The offenses GB has played have an average ranking of 15th. FO has NO 16th and GB 19th by DVOA.

I think I'll pass on NO's defensive personnel; I am ready to look for a new defensive coordinator.

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Finwiz's picture

November 06, 2017 at 11:37 am

Excuses, excuses....you keep making them, and I'll deal with the reality of what the GB Packers have for a defense. It's bottom tier, and I don't care WHO they played or when.

The Packers D couldn't shut down Alabama, let alone any of those bottom tier offenses you cite in your excuse rant. You'll see tonight once again, I suspect. Stay tuned.

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Finwiz's picture

November 06, 2017 at 11:38 am

Did I say - it's all about excuses?
Yeah, I guess I did.

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Finwiz's picture

November 06, 2017 at 02:13 pm

I'm now hearing the Packer organization sent Bennett home to figure things out with this retirement thing, fearing he may have become a distraction. Word is, the Packers are not happy with his retirement talk. Arrrghhh - unreal, they finally go out and sign a relatively big name FA, and he turns out to be a flake like this.

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