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Packers Periscope: Week 9 vs. Detroit Lions

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Packers Periscope: Week 9 vs. Detroit Lions

The Green Bay Packers needed this bye week and they even got an extra day.  They'll host the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field on Monday Night and resume their 2017 schedule with a relatively healthy roster.

We all know that the term "relatively healthy" really means the injury situation is more about quantity than quality.  Aaron Rodgers will be on the sideline for this game and an advisor, at most.

Let's look at this season's first match up between these two teams a bit deeper.

The Past

The Packers lead the all-time series 100-68-7 and have won three in a row.  The most recent meeting was week 17 last season when the Packers clinched the NFC North with a win in Detroit.

The Lions still earned a wild card spot and were quickly dismissed by the Seattle Seahawks but they made a postseason.  Their first since 2014 when the Packers also beat Detroit in week 17 to claim the division title while the Lions were bridesmaids once again in a wild card spot.

With the Packers having a much superior quarterback situation over the past three decades, Green Bay has dominated this series.  The Packers won the only two postseason meetings between the two teams, including the dramatic Favre-to-Sharpe winner following the 1993 season.

The Lions have played well early on over the past few seasons only to regress to their mean by season's end.  They've managed to stay in contention until season's end a few times recently under head coach Jim Caldwell but have yet to get that elusive playoff win.  They haven't won a postseason game since the 1991 season.

The most recent exciting game between these teams was the 2015 Thursday Night game in which Rodgers threw a Hail Mary on an untimed play from scrimmage which was caught by tight end Richard Rodgers for the win.  That play was made possible by a facemask penalty on the Lions during Green Bay's attempt to lateral their way to the end zone.

The Present

Detroit, surprising to no one, has rode on the arm of quarterback Matthew Stafford.  The Lions average 242 passing yards per game but just 82 on the ground.  The Lions also struggled mightily in last week's game when in the red zone.  They got there five times and couldn't score a single touchdown.

As a result, the Lions are now 3-4 on the season.  The Packers have lost two straight and come in with a 4-3 mark.

The Packers will at least have their two preferred offensive tackles and could also get guard Lane Taylor back as well.  It would at least give Brett Hundley the best protection he can get.

Green Bay is also getting rookie linebacker Vince Biegel for the first time this season.  Whether he's active in this game will likely depend on other injuries, namely to Ahmad Brooks.

In the defensive backfield, safety Morgan Burnett will return and resume his duties as the defensive signal caller.  One of the keys to this game will be Green Bay's ability to rush Stafford and hold serve against the Lions' pass catchers.  

Defensively, both teams are giving up between 23-24 points per game which would lead to the assumption that this won't be a shootout.  The Packers just need to hope it doesn't become a blowout.

The Lions will also be reuniting a few former Packers with Lambeau Field in this game.  Wide receiver Jared Abbrederis and offensive linemen T.J. Lang and Don Barclay are all in Lions blue these days.  Barclay was just signed by Detroit while Lang has played well so far this season after not being brought back to Green Bay.

The Future

Despite the former Packers sharing all of the trade secrets with their new team (if that even matters), the Lions will still have their work cut out for them in this game.  Green Bay is 9-2 after the bye week under Head Coach Mike McCarthy.

Detroit hasn't historically played well on the road but they're 2-1 away from Detroit while they're just 1-3 at home.  This will be the Lions' first game on grass this season.

The Lions are the league's seventh-best run defense, allowing just over 91 yards per game.  Packers running back Aaron Jones has over 120 yards and a touchdown in two of the last three games.  With a healthy offensive line, the Packers will try to pound it early.

The Packers aren't in any type of "must win" scenario but they need to get one behind Hundley at quarterback.  The confidence that they can win without Rodgers is some much-needed medicine after the last two disappointing games.

The Lions need to stop the bleeding and get back to .500 with a winnable NFC North in their sights.

I'm not one to pick a team to win until I can see them do it first.  But this is the Packers, at home, after the bye and they should be fired up to stop licking their wounds and start winning games.  I have to go with the home team in this one as they find a way to get it done in prime time.

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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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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (18) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Nick Perry's picture

It's going to be interesting to see what a bye week has done for McCarthy's creative juices. He has to help his QB be successful and not coach so damn scared. The Packers will be without the services of Aaron Rodgers for at least the next 6 weeks and if they really believe Rodgers might make it back then it's time to go for it.

I can't imagine Hundley is really as bad as what he's showed these last 2 games. If he is then the Packers coaching staff and front office shouldn't be allowed to even finish the season out. McCarthy's forte is offense and he's supposed to be the QB Guru. If Hundley puts up a similar stat line as he did in Minnesota and against New Orleans and the Packers lose, then the coaching staff has failed miserably and the front office has once again left the Packers unprepared for an injury to Rodgers. You may think I'm jumping the gun but I don't think so. Hundley has been preparing for this moment all his life. He HAS to be better and it's up to MM to help him do that.

Healthy O-Line...Check
Decent running Game...Check
A Damn Good Receiving Group....Check

As Kevin Greene would say, "It's Time!"

HankScorpio's picture

"I can't imagine Hundley is really as bad as what he's showed these last 2 games."

It is very difficult to achieve the level of stink that Hundley has displayed to date. If he can't turn it around in a big way, they have to start considering other options, whether that is Callahan or signing a vet off the street.

Tundraboy's picture

Agreed NP. And even if Rodgers is not coming back, let it fly. Personally I want to see what everyone on the roster can do. Why have any more players to speculate about over the off season. We might even have some really nice surprises. I sure as hell don't want to hear any more coaches drivel about potential, upside.....

Point Packer's picture

I had a dream last night that the Packers were 11-3 and Hundley was playing very well.

billybobton's picture

very true...same dream

my brother the cowboy fan was not happy Brett H was a cowboy though

Houndog's picture

Kudos Nick Perry, I couldn't have said it better!
It Is Time!
(and time for TT to go!!

Handsback's picture

I dare say that the issue for these Packers right now could be one of confidence. If they beat the Lions it could springboard them to a good record. You take out a HOF QB like Rodgers and it's effect ripples across the team and coaches. They have had a few weeks now to get used to him being gone. Now they will see what they can do. Winning is really a habit, and this team is different than the one led by Rodgers so they need to start a new habit.

RCPackerFan's picture

Getting injured players will definitely help. Having their actual starters out there for virtually the first time this year will be a huge help. Getting our defensive QB back will give the defense a huge lift. But also just getting guys who have missed time back and healthy will really help. Guys like House and King, Perry and others.

The area that we need the most improved play from though is from Hundley. He doesn't have to be Rodgers, but he needs to be consistent, and keep drives going, and avoid turnovers.

The game plan should be to run the ball, and do play action passes, and to do quick easy throws. I'd also like to see them create different looks. Use motion and misdirection to help get targets open. I expect them to do more read option type of stuff.

McCarthy has to do things to help Hundley. Make things easier for Hundley. A better mixture of play calls would help. He needs to do a better job of scheming players open. Making things easier on the inexperienced QB.
McCarthy has usually responded pretty well to adversity. Having the bye week should give him the time to restructure the offense to help Hundley as much as possible.

Razer's picture

...The Packers aren't in any type of "must win" scenario but they need to get one behind Hundley at quarterback...

This is a must win game. As Jason points out, the Packers need to get a win with Hundley at the helm and Hundley needs to prove he can lead the team to victory.

Given that we are rested and prepared, there is no better time and chance than Monday. This game will define our defense and its ability to step-up. This game will be the tell on Hundley leading. This game will be about confidence for the rest of the season.
The noose will only tighten if we drop this game against a division rival.

I am saying "must win".

Finwiz's picture

The injury risk aside, given his history, I'd feel really good if Taysom Hill had 2 games, and 3 weeks to prepare for this game against Detroit on Monday night. I don't think we are going to see anything that suggests greatness out of Hundley on Monday. Just a feeling I have.

Qoojo's picture

All divisional games at home are "must win" games, unless things have already been decided.

For MM, this is the game he gets to prove if he is a good head coach, or simply reinforce the idea that he is a beneficiary of HoF QBs. He had 2 weeks to get the backup qb reps, and work on the various issues. Being HC isn't just about offense, so there should be considerable defensive improvement too. The one site had a story on how much has been invested into the defense in the past 4 years, with almost no return. Burnett's return should help with the communication and alignment.

I keep reading from people about MM possibly getting fired at end of season if things do not change. I think the packers could lose every game from here, and MM would still be around next year. I am not sure what it takes to get Capers fired. Years and years of bottom of the barrel defense hasn't done it.

LAS VEGAS-TOM's picture

MM is not the problem in GB. If he would get fired, he wouldn't be out of a job 5 minutes. He may hire his own Coach's, but I don't believe he has any Control over Capers. In my Opinion, the problem in GB is Capers & the "Head Guy". You might as well throw Murphy in there as well. He came from Northwestern. What did he ever do there that was any good. If you start changing coach's on AR, you're going to wind up with the same thing you got with Favre. I personally hope AR stays out till Next Year. If GB loses the rest of their games this year, that would be fine with me. Having AR for the next 3 years is more important.
LVT

Finwiz's picture

LVT - I don't think it's the "Head Guy", because that same guy is also drafting defensive talent, as well as offensive. They've typically been proficient offensively, but not defensively. That points to one common denominator - Capers. I honestly believe there is talent on this defense, it's just being very poorly coached. Words cannot accurately describe how much I hate the GB defense and I blame the defensive coordinator, but to some degree MM as well, because he does nothing to change things.

billybobton's picture

with all due respect it is a good thing you are not mathmatician

the biggest common denominator is AROD plays offense and hides all the flaws and bad picks and lack of talent

it is not really coaching it is talent and a lack of AROD that is killing a bad coach

Finwiz's picture

OK, lets throw-down.....what does AROD, who is NOT playing right now, (but I digress), have to do with perennially BAD defense?

With all due respect, it's a good thing you aren't in charge of talent evaluation, because the problem would just be compounded, and there would be no hope at all.

I completely disagree...the defensive problems are almost ALL coaching related.

Qoojo's picture

I think the defensive has talent to be at least a top 50% defense. But to his point, I also think AR makes the offense look better than it really is. I thought MM went stale in innovation, and it's more about AR throwing into a breadbox sized spot and extending plays.

I also wonder if we will see more improvement this week on the offensive side simply because AR is back to help Hundley.

It sucks that we have to wait till monday to watch them play, and listen to Gruden.

LAS VEGAS-TOM's picture

Finwiz, I agree with you 100% on Capers. I've been saying it for 4 yr's. So Defensively we agree Completely. AR can't help the Defense play better. I guess it's a matter of opinion on the "Head Guy" & MM. When you have QB's like Favre & AR, they'd make me look good. We both agree the coaching Defensively is Terrible, & at times Offensively is not good. Someone up in GB doesn't care about the Defensive Coaching or they would have done something about it. Just my opinion, but I don't think it's MM. Unless I'm wrong, the "Head Guy" hires & fires. As far as MM as a coach, how will we know until AR is No Longer there. Like I said, he'd make me look pretty good, Don't you think??
LVT

Thegreatreynoldo's picture

"I also think AR makes the offense look better than it really is."

Yes, the GOAT probably does exactly that. The offense still looks well stocked with talent to me.

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