Packers Periscope: Week 5 vs. Detroit Lions

The Green Bay Packers travel to Detroit to take on the Lions this week.  It's the first meeting between the two division foes this season so let's take a look at what got both teams to where they are now.

The Past

The Packers lead the all-time series 100-70-7.  The Lions won both meetings last year and notched their second win in three games at Lambeau Field, where they had not won the previous 24 years.  Both games took place after Aaron Rodgers was out with his collarbone injury.

The Lions continue to be, well, the Lions with a few playoff or near playoff seasons mixed in.  Previous head coach Jim Caldwell was recently let go after last season in favor of former Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia.  Lions general manager Bob Quinn has continued trying to add top coaching talent to his organization.

Quinn has also continued to try and bolster his roster with free agent help.  This past offseason, he added some bigger-name veterans such as defensive tackle Sylvester Williams, tight end Luke Willson, running back LaGarrette Blount and cornerback DeShawn Shead and linebacker Devon Kennard.

Creating a pass rush and an ability to stop the run looked to be a focus for the Lions on defense.  On offense, Blount has somewhat rejuvenated the run game and taken some pressure off of the passing attack, which has been a primary focus in Detroit mostly since quarterback Matt Stafford's arrival.

Stafford enters his 10th season in the league and while he's put up some good numbers, the team's success hasn't necessarily followed.  That lack of success is what led to the early retirement of former All-Pro wide receiver Calvin Johnson two years ago.  The offense was up-and-down with Johnson.  Since, it's been more of the same.

On the Packers' side of things, they continue to keep a leg up in this match up as long as quarterback Aaron Rodgers is healthy.  Or relatively healthy.  Rodgers has won his last two starts in Detroit, including the Hail Mary thriller in 2015 and a division-clincher in 2016.

Green Bay added depth to their cornerback group with rookies Jaire Alexander and Josh Jackson.  Both played most of last week's game against the Buffalo Bills with Kevin King out.  The rookies have played well with a few gaffes mixed in, but both have proven an upgrade to what the team had coming into the season. With all three NFC North foes featuring good passing offenses, the secondary continues to be a focus for the Packers.

The Present

Detroit has started out 1-3 with their only win coming against the Patriots.  Talk about quality over quantity, even with the jury out on what New England will be this season.  The Packers improved to 2-1-1 with last week's win and are looking for their first road win.

While the Lions were looking to improve their defense, they have seen mixed results.  They are second in passing defense, allowing just under 172 yards per game but I've never liked yards as the main qualifier in ranking a defense.  When teams are racking up the kind of rushing yards that Lions opponents are, there's not much reason to throw it a ton.

The Lions rank dead last in run defense by a whopping 16 yards per game allowed at 157.8.  For those clamoring for the Packers to run the ball more and to a specific runner, this would be the week to do it.

Statistically speaking, the Packers and Lions are nearly even on the offensive side of the ball.  As mentioned earlier, the quarterback is the biggest difference there along with many other smaller differences that favor the Packers.

Defensively, after last week's shutout, the Packers passing defense now ranks fifth overall in yards surrendered.  This could turn into an old school game on the ground if neither offense can get into a rhythm through the air.

The Future

This isn't any type of must-win for the Packers but it might as well be for Detroit.  Dropping to 1-4 on the season would almost guarantee that they won't make the postseason and changes the complexion of their 2018. 

The Packers need every divisional win they can rack up with a tie on their record.  This week's game is a big one as it's on the road and divisional games are always tough regardless of records.

If the Packers don't come out running Aaron Jones early and often, they simply haven't done any homework.  It appears as though even when expecting the run, Detroit can't stop it.  

Both teams have 13 sacks on the season but we all know the Packers should have at least one more.  They're getting some pressure so I don't expect either team to try and throw it 45 times unless there are a rash of turnovers.

This is setting up as a chess match with short passes and the success of the run game setting up play action and a deep shot or two.  It could end up a very close game.  Either way, I see the Packers coming away with a win and keeping pressure on Minnesota to keep up.

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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 (8)

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Daren726's picture

October 05, 2018 at 01:58 pm

Detroit isn’t as bad as their record indicates. The First week loss was just a new coach with a new team. The Dallas and 49ers games could have easily been wins. They are starting to gel and have a good running game to go with their passing attack. The key is their offensive line. If healthy they can be really good. Let’s hope TJLang takes one more week off to get well! Their defense is pretty leaky. Let’s hope the running game can get off to a good start to take the pressure off of the passing game.

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Thebearsstillsuck's picture

October 05, 2018 at 08:32 pm

"If the Packers don't come out running Aaron Jones early and often, they simply haven't done any homework."

Or they have Mike Mccarthy as a head coach.

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PatrickGB's picture

October 05, 2018 at 09:04 pm

But the Lions will be expecting the run with our banged up WR corps. It will be up to the youngsters to help us win. I just want them to get open and catch the ball. And try the middle of the field behind the linebackers once in a while.

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4thand10's picture

October 05, 2018 at 09:52 pm

The Packers will continue to get tested deep until they can prove to stop the deep ball. Marvin Jones and Golden Tate are both 1000 yard/yr receivers. Running the ball with Jones, Williams and Monty sounds good against a team with poor run defense and that makes perfect sense....but if Tate and Jones are not shut down early I believe it will be a throw fest.

This is yet another game where I hope our tight ends can come through. I’d like to see Graham have a big day. I’d also like to see Aaron Jones have a big day.

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4thand10's picture

October 05, 2018 at 09:55 pm

King and Rodgers are OFF the injury report. Good news indeed.

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Skip greenBayless's picture

October 05, 2018 at 11:07 pm

I wonder what the odds are in Vegas that Kevin King makes it thru the entire game without hurting himself? Las Vegas Tom, are you still here?

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Johnblood27's picture

October 06, 2018 at 12:41 am

I really dont care if Detroit throws it all over the yard.

GB needs to run to win.

If Stafford is hot then keeping the ball away while our gassed defense rests is the best strategy especially if they can't stop the run.

I dont care if we dont score as fast, I just want to score as much.

and try to preserve our defense... if, IF Stafford is hashing them.

it only needs to deteriorate into a throw fest if mclardy let's Detroit get too far out in front in the 1st half.

run to win.
use Jones Monty and William's early and often.

trust in the process.

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Royalty Free GM's picture

October 06, 2018 at 04:26 am

GB needs to sell a run when they are going to throw and vice versa.
That’s called being unpredictable, but MM doesn’t seem to know that word.

In Aarons We Trust

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