Packers Periscope: Week 17 vs. Detroit Lions

The Green Bay Packers return home to finish out the 2018 season, hosting the Detroit Lions.  These teams are facing each other in week 17 for the third straight season.

Let's take a look back and to this Sunday's game for a breakdown of this match up.

The Past

The Lions are locked into last place in the NFC North, regardless of this week's outcome.  The Lions sit at 5-10 while the Packers are 6-8-1. 

Last year's week 17 game was one of the most forgettable and awful performances by a Packers team in decades.  The effort was poor and it was clear no one wanted to get hurt or put themselves out there for the team. 

After last week's win over the New York Jets, this year's Packers team seems to have a different attitude going into these last two games.

The first meeting between these teams was one of the most frustrating losses for the Packers this season.  

The Lions stumbled their way to a 31-23 win, mostly thanks for four missed field goals by Packers kicker Mason Crosby.  Crosby also missed an extra point on the day, his worst of the season by far.

Detroit was up 24-0 at the half before giving up 23 second half points to the Packers.

Aaron Rodgers fumbled twice in the first meeting but still threw three touchdown passes on the day.

Lions running back Kerryon Johnson had 70 rushing yards and receiver Golden Tate added five catches on the day. 

Since then, Johnson has landed on injured reserve and Tate was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Present

Both of these teams have had seasons to forget and both will likely use this last game to evaluate future talent, much like they did last season.

Aaron Rodgers likely starts this game, the last home game of the season.  It's risky and many oppose the potential risk Rodgers faces, but it would be a huge "thank you" to the home fans who have endured a tough season.
 
The Lions have nothing to gain, having locked up last place but they can try to capture a bit of late-season pride (pun intended) with a rare road win in Green Bay.
 
If the season ended today, the Lions would pick fifth and the Packers, 14th.  It would be the first top-five pick for the Lions since 2013.
 
The Packers had the 14th pick last season and seemingly did well in that spot, should that hold and be their starting point in 2019.
 
The Packers defense struggled with Lions receiver Kenny Golladay in the first meeting.  Despite missing early week practices with a chest injury, Golladay should play on Sunday.  The Lions will be without Marvin Jones, Jr., who was placed on injured reserve earlier this season.
 
Offensively, the focus will be on Packers receiver Davante Adams, who is just two catches from setting a new single-season record for receptions.  Adams also has an outside shot at the single-season record for receiving yards as well.
 
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers put out one of his vintage performances last week, rushing for two touchdowns and throwing for another two.  He still missed some throws, something he's struggled with all season, but some of that vintage dime-dropping also returned.
 
To counter Detroit's power running by LeGarrette Blount, the Packers will, once again, feature Jamaal Williams, who had his best game last week vs. the Jets.  The offense executed a beautiful screen for the first time in what seems like forever and hopefully they can continue building on that success this week.
 

The Future

The Packers had 15 players miss practice earlier this week, including notables Adams, David Bakhtiari, Bryan Bulaga, Jaire Alexander, Randall Cobb, Jimmy Graham and Equanimeous St. Brown.  Cobb and St. Brown are dealing with concussions and their statuses for Sunday are in question.

Despite Bakhtiari missing practice, Rodgers has declared that he plans to play.  No report yet on whether the team will step in and sit their franchise and long-term investment.

With the Packers at home and needing a positive note to go out on, the Packers should win this game.  It could be a shootout between Rodgers and Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, which would be entertaining for those watching.

In Green Bay and past any lack of motivation, I give the nod to the home team to end the season at 7-8-1 and give the home fans a great day in the cold.

To those hoping that the Packers don't win for the better draft placement, just remember that the draft is anything but a certainty.  Two wins to end the season could greatly benefit the young players who are part of this team's long-term future.

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Jason is a freelance writer on staff since 2012 and also co-hosts Cheesehead TV Live, Pulse of the Pack and Pack A Day podcasts.  You can follow him on Twitter here

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Comments (10)

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HankScorpio's picture

December 28, 2018 at 11:22 am

Yesterday, i read about Matt Patricia having problems with being on time. This could have been just the media running a hatchet piece on Patricia because they are pissed he keeps them waiting for pressers. But they threw in some "unnamed sources" from the team that it extends to team meetings. For his part, Patricia gave a bizarre non-answer response when he was asked directly.

If there is any truth to it, I expect the Lions to really stink it up on Sunday. If the HC doesn't hold himself to a standard, there is no way he can hold the team to standards. That will show up as an unorganized, disinterested team on game days. And he'll soon be just another name in the strangely unfruitful Belichick coaching tree.

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Skip greenBayless's picture

December 28, 2018 at 01:14 pm

Hank, sounds like you have it all figured out. Lions will lose because Patricia was probably taking a shit that took longer than he expected and was a minute late for a meeting. Now the entire team is in dissaray, unorganized and disinterested as a result. I think you are really reaching here Hank. I think everyone in the world expects the Lions to lose especially the Lions. They are the smart ones and will get a major playmaker by "tanking". The Packers are the idiots going all out playing Aaron Rodgers when half the team is on IR. I do get it now and believe in Old School's theory. This is all about hiring Joe Philbin.

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HankScorpio's picture

December 28, 2018 at 01:27 pm

You still trying to pick that fight over winning now vs draft position?

Not interested. It's boring.

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CheesyTex's picture

December 28, 2018 at 12:37 pm

Can't wait for the draft and free agency. Hope springs eternal.

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Doug Niemczynski's picture

December 28, 2018 at 01:01 pm

Vince Lombardi Quotes. Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence

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Lare's picture

December 28, 2018 at 01:14 pm

At least the Packers can have hope that a new head coach, assistant coaches, schemes and training staff will bring much needed changes and improvements to the organization.

On the other hand, the Lions have another year of putting up with Patricia and the losing, disorganized mess he's brought to Detroit.

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flackcatcher's picture

December 28, 2018 at 03:52 pm

Don't let the Loins front office or ownership off the hook either. Outside of Caldwell who the front office undercut, their HC coaching picks have been underwhelming. And the less said about the Ford's, the better. At least whatever one thinks about Green Bay's structure, at least they are accountable.

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Lare's picture

December 28, 2018 at 04:08 pm

Four words- Matt Millen, Wayne Fontes.

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Swisch's picture

December 28, 2018 at 08:01 pm

It is more than a little sad to be at the last game of the season, which is a great reason to go out with excellent effort.
I'm hoping to see a lot of Burks, Tonyan and Kumerow.
I'm not sure, but it seems like it would be better for Aaron Rodgers to sit this game out so as to end the season with the great finish in the last game.
It seems so long until next September.

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ILPackerBacker's picture

December 29, 2018 at 10:49 am

The difference between Detroit and Green bay is certainly not the Fords v the invisible board and the is beyond any question and complete and nearly embarrassing lack of accountability in Green Bay.

The difference is Rodgers and Favre. PERIOD. Over that span the lions have drafted far better and had stronger rosters. Year in and Year out.

Just this year Murphy has flat out contradicted himself, completely thrown the organization up in the air, reversed himself in a matter of days, made himself the boss (how did that work out) and talked about the communication problem that meant a losing season. He has been probably the worst executive in the NFL. His evaluations of thompson? Where have they been for a decade? The favre fiasco?

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