Packers Have to Limit Big Plays Against Stafford-led Lions

In order to keep this pesky Lions team from pulling off the upset, the defense will have to be better at eliminating the big play. 

Truthfully, the Green Bay Packers shouldn't have much of a problem with the Detroit Lions on Sunday. To put it simply, they're just the better team, and this Detroit defense will have their hands full with a red-hot Aaron Rodgers. However, I'm sure many of us had these same thoughts a season ago, yet, the Packers would need a pair of Mason Crosby game-winners at the end of regulation. 

In recent seasons, the Lions have been a pesky team for the Packers, and with Matthew Stafford under center, they have a very explosive offense. And it is this explosive offense that could make Sunday's game much closer than what it should be, as the Packers haven't shown that they're able to limit the big play consistently. 

Now, to their credit, they did improve as the 2019 season went on, but for the most part, they were still susceptible to the explosive play. When it was all said and done, the Packers would give up 56 plays of 20 yards or more last season, which ranked as the 11th most in football. When it came to plays of 40 yards or more, they gave up the fourth-most. According to Sharp Football, which defines an explosive play as 20 yards or more, Green Bay's explosive play rate of 10 percent from 2019 was tied for the eighth-highest percentage that season. 

Even in last week's victory against Minnesota, when the Packers spent just about the entire fourth quarter in prevent defense, we still saw Adam Thielen get behind the Green Bay defense. 

So what's the issue for this Packers' secondary? Well, these big plays certainly aren't a result of a lack of talent; we know Green Bay has plenty of that. But what Matt LaFleur and Mike Pettine have both mentioned is a lack of consistency and communication. When you have such a young group of players, these are often going to be prominent issues, and as I mentioned, they are issues that were cleaned up a bit as the season progressed in 2019, but as we saw just a week ago, there's still work to be done.

With Stafford and the Lions coming to town, he is a quarterback that will fully take advantage of those big play opportunities if they're presented to him. Before an injury sidelined him last season, Stafford was on pace for over 5,000 passing yards and nearly 40 touchdowns through eight games. 

Detroit finished the 2019 season with the sixth most passing plays of 20 yards or more, and they were fifth in the number of plays that went over 40 yards. Additionally, Sharp Football had them with an explosive play rate of 10 percent, which was good for 10th best in the NFL. And keep in mind that Stafford was out for half the season, but they were still able to finish as one of the NFL's best teams in terms of explosive plays. 

In fact, if we go back to the Week 6 Monday Night matchup between these two teams, Stafford's first and third-longest plays of the season came against Green Bay with a 66-yard completion to Kenny Golladay and a 58-yard completion to Marvin Hall. 

Just as I said initially, this is a game that the Packers should win relatively easily. But if communication and consistency issues rear their ugly heads once again, Stafford is going to take advantage and burn this Green Bay defense a few times, which could very well lead to a much closer game than what we all want it to be. 

---------------------

Born and raised in Green Bay, WI and I still call it home. After my family, watching the Packers, sharing my opinions on the team through my writing and interacting with other fans is my greatest passion. You can find me on Twitter at @Paul_Bretl. 
 

6 points

Comments (17)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
Razer's picture

September 18, 2020 at 12:59 pm

As you mentioned Paul, the Lions have played us straight up these last years and but for some favorable calls we have not done well against them. So, Packers beware.

They are good team to meet in week 2. They will run at us and make us focus on better run defense and Stafford will test the secondary that is being called on to support the run. Better we figure it out now because teams are going to pound us until we prove our mettle.

We will also see if there is true dedication to this "new" offense. I believe it will be the renaissance of Aaron Rodgers IF he embraces it fully. I am not from Missouri but you do need to show me - more than once.

Go Packers

+ REPLY
7 points
7
0
Lphill's picture

September 18, 2020 at 01:15 pm

This is not a game to be taken lightly Stafford is not afraid to throw deep and use his tight ends in the middle of the field . The Packers inside linebackers will be tested.

+ REPLY
8 points
8
0
jannes bjornson's picture

September 18, 2020 at 09:31 pm

Galladay is a weapon, AP brings the power game and DeAndre Swift is elusive. Could be a shootout.

+ REPLY
3 points
3
0
splitpea1's picture

September 18, 2020 at 01:22 pm

The Packers' secondary isn't THAT young; I just think they relaxed a little and lost a bit of their focus. Better not to play prevent defense at all if you can't do any better than that; looks like a lot more coaching is needed here.

+ REPLY
7 points
7
0
jannes bjornson's picture

September 18, 2020 at 09:32 pm

Do you think they would relax with Belichick running the show on D?

+ REPLY
3 points
3
0
Coldworld's picture

September 18, 2020 at 01:30 pm

In recent years they have been well matched to our weaknesses. This year it looks to me as if that remains true with respect to their offense. They are strong in the slot and over the middle. If we are without a Greene and Clark and Kirksey’s role has to be adapted to fit Barnes and contain the run, that matchup is coming at the worst time.

Add to the fact that Stafford’s weakness is pressure up the middle and we don’t have Clark, well let’s say the game is tailor made to kick start M Adam’s career. Lancaster was decent last week but I doubt he will terrify Stafford. That may mean a lot of blitzing, opening holes for their catchers.

It’s a good job our O looks, if anything, better matched against their D in its injury depleted form. They have no Kendrick’s or star safety. I can’t believe that they won’t double cover Adams. I look for a lot of yards from us in the middle and overall.

+ REPLY
3 points
4
1
splitpea1's picture

September 18, 2020 at 02:00 pm

It's now or never for M. Adams; if never, please make room on the roster for a useful player ASAP.

+ REPLY
9 points
9
0
Razer's picture

September 18, 2020 at 02:59 pm

Totally agree. We need better D-line play and if you can't play then find someone who can.

+ REPLY
2 points
3
1
Coldworld's picture

September 18, 2020 at 04:29 pm

I am left hoping Winn is fit. He was decent before injuries ruined 3 seasons.

+ REPLY
4 points
4
0
jannes bjornson's picture

September 18, 2020 at 09:34 pm

Never was last year. Nothing done to shore up the five tech in the off-season. Lowry plateaued when he signed his extension.

+ REPLY
4 points
4
0
Bearmeat's picture

September 18, 2020 at 01:40 pm

I'd add that it seems AP still can run and that is bad for us. With Clark out, I have absolutely no faith that we can keep them under 150 yards for the game.

Other DL have to step up. I have no faith they can. Boy that Lowry extension is headscratching, as is not getting help on the DL in the offseason. And no, I'm not just talking about bottom of the barrel guys.

+ REPLY
10 points
11
1
Coldworld's picture

September 18, 2020 at 04:07 pm

We have M Adams, surely we are fine?

+ REPLY
-1 points
0
1
dobber's picture

September 19, 2020 at 09:51 am

I think Lancaster plays on the nose with Clark out and Keke is first in line to pick up snaps in the base DE spot. Lancaster was OK in 2018 at NT when Clark got hurt.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
jannes bjornson's picture

September 19, 2020 at 01:52 pm

He is definitely a better NT. Not so much as a DE/3 tech.

+ REPLY
0 points
0
0
fansince1959's picture

September 18, 2020 at 07:16 pm

where is a Gilbert Brown or Howard Green when we need them----hope i'm wrong but this is an area where Gute has not done a great job---he did almost nothing since the NFC championship game

+ REPLY
6 points
6
0
RedRight49's picture

September 19, 2020 at 09:57 am

IF there had to be a D minus Clark, this is a good time and match-up to see what Pettine and his bench can do to stop the inevitable running test coming their way.

" AD " still has some beast in him and expect he likely will test the inside / middle of the D early as will Johnson and Swift.

Same too with their TE Hockenson and, Danny Amendola - both can be a good test for the Pack's ILBs.

Bevell can be a creative Offensive Co-ord and no doubt will be looking at ways to mismatch or out scheme the Pack's D all over the field.

We know Cephus was a weapon for the Badgers and after a rough pro start last week can imagine he and Bevell ( former GB coach & Wi QB) would love to show the Wisconsin folks their A-game!

Q can catch and he can run - might he be used on a sweep as well as a deep receiving threat?

The Pack's D will need to disrupt Stafford's rhythm with some stunt packages and blitzes - and learn very early in the Season who can help anchor the middle of the D against the run and the inside pass.

Aaron was great last week and he and Adams and Jones should be tough to contain for an entire game and, the GB bench has some rotational
and situational weapons for the Detroit D to contend with.

After Game 1 last week I'm convinced GB's offensive bench strength is overall better than last Season.

Expect to see Aaron again take what the Detroit D gives him to take and to see a nice time of possession advantage to the Packer's Offense!

GB should and will win and their D will face some tough challenges but, expect the D keep a reasonable lid on Stafford's offensive jar!

+ REPLY
1 points
1
0
Leatherhead's picture

September 19, 2020 at 07:02 pm

We are at home.
We have a better organization. We have the better Head Coach.
We have the better QB. We have the better RB. We have the best WR on the field.

Our defense, on the road last week, thwarted the Vikings for three quarters and then the HC decided to let up. This was one of the leagues better offenses last year.

The Lions defense choked away a pretty good lead, at home, and lost to the Bears.....hardly an offensive juggernaut.

We should beat the snot out of these guys.

+ REPLY
-1 points
0
1

Log in to comment and more!

Not a member yet? Join free.

If you have already commented on Cheesehead TV in the past, we've created an account for you. Just verify your email, set a password and you're golden.