Why the Packers Will Beat Detroit and Why They Might Not

There are two good seasons why the Lions will probably beat the Packers in Detroit on Sunday. 

For the first time in nine years, the Green Bay Packers are going into their Week 17 game knowing it will be the last of the season. The last time that happened was in 2008 and the final game was also against the Detroit Lions.

That was Aaron Rodgers first season as the starting quarterback. Green Bay went 6-10 that year, thanks to a win over the Lions in the season finale, a loss that cemented an 0-16 season for Detroit.

This time around, Rodgers won’t be on the field. Instead, it will be Brett Hundley, who will try to lead the Packers to an eighth win, avoiding their first losing season since, you guessed it, 2008.

That’s about the only thing Green Bay has to play for Sunday at Ford Field, that and avoiding a sweep at the hands of Detroit. The Lions won at Lambeau Field earlier this season for the only the second time in 25 years. 

The fact that the Packers could be swept by both Minnesota and Detroit, shows just how bad things got this season. Without Rodgers, that was to be expected. But so much for Hundley being a future starting quarterback. He’s clearly nothing of the sort. Sorry Mike (McCarthy). 

Green Bay shouldn’t even try to trade him this offseason. His value will be dimished and they would be better off keeping him for another year and getting a compensatory if he takes off as a free agent. 

Regardless, the Packers have one last game to go and here’s a breakdown of why they will win, as well as why they might lose.

Why Green Bay will win:

This category is going to be thin this week. The injury report is ridiculous and most of the star players will be out of action. That will allow the Packers more chances to evaluate young talent, but it won't help them win this week. 

Offensively, it would be nice to see Hundley finish strong, but without Davante Adams and Jordy Nelson, that seems like a big ask. A run-based attack seems likely, especially since Detroit ranks 28th against the run. And with Jamaal Williams, the Packers should be able to make carve out a solid ground game.

Williams didn’t do anything spectacular against the Vikings, but he churned out nearly 60 yards in a 16-0 loss. If Green Bay can get the lead and get him 20-25 carries, he will have a good chance of hitting 100. Add in some runs designed for Hundley and the Packers could do some damage.

On defense, Green Bay will also rely on young players. Clay Matthews and Nick Perry are out, so let’s see what Kyler Fackrell and Vince Biegel can do as the main edge rushers. Kenny Clark and Dean Lowry will also need to play well up front, as will Blake Martinez in the middle.

Martinez, Clark and Lowry, all second-year players, have proven to be part of foundation on defense. Whoever the coordinator is next season, they will play big roles. But Fackrell is still trying to find his way. He has three sacks this year and has improved, but this is a big chance for him to show he deserves even more snaps next season.

As for Biegel, he has shown flashes on defense, but not much else, he's another that could use a big day or maybe his first career sack.  Either way, the Packers need to see if he's worth developing further and this game could tell them a lot. 

With so many key guys out, it will be up to the youngsters to beat Detroit. Either they step up and make plays or the Packers falter again and finish 7-9. 

Why Detroit will win:

The biggest reason why you have to give the edge to Detroit is Matthew Stafford. The guy is still the second-best quarterback in the NFC North and has had a spectacular season. He has thrown for just shy of 4,000 yards to go along with 26 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

Some may scoff at the money he got paid, but he has earned it. He came to Detroit after that 0-16 season and has helped transform the Lions into perennial playoff contenders.

Stafford led the league in fourth-quarter comebacks in 2016 and also led Detroit to the playoffs in 2011, 2014 and 2016. Obviously, he would love to still be alive for the playoffs this season, but a chance to sweep Green Bay and lock up back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in his career, should provide plenty of motivation.

At the end of the day, for the Packers, this feels like a preseason game. Sure, Green Bay wants to win, but mostly, it wants to get young guys like Jones, Fackrell, Michael Clark, Williams and Geronimo Allison more experience. A win would be great, but a loss also helps the team get a better draft pick. I could be totally wrong, but that's the vibe I'm getting. 

On the other hand, Detroit seems to have more reasons to want a win. Sweeping the Packers will matter to a team that has beaten Green Bay so little over the years and a winning season still means something, especially for that franchise.

Motivation and Matt Stafford, that’s why the Lions will probably end up winning what could be an ugly end to the 2017 season.


Chris is a sports journalist from Montana and has been blogging about the Packers since 2011. Chris has been a staff writer for CheeseheadTV since 2017 and looks forward to the day when Aaron Rodgers wins his second Super Bowl. Follow him @thepackersguru

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Comments (4)

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Spock's picture

December 31, 2017 at 07:21 am

It's being reported (I think by Ian Rappaport) that both Fangio for the Bears AND Caldwell for the Lions will be out of their jobs after the final regular season games. That might be incentive for the Lions players to get one last win for their head coach. Black Monday is fast approaching.

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mrtundra's picture

December 31, 2017 at 09:35 am

Biegel needed to participate in training camp and get some preseason play under his wing for him to have had more impact than he did, this season. He has shown flashes of what he can do but will need more work to become the player that Wisconsin Badger fans know he can be. I do not look for the Packers to get the win on Sunday, but they can help themselves a lot, for next year, if they play our younger players. I am hoping Callahan gets to play, too. Why he hasn't been in any games is beyond me.

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stockholder's picture

December 31, 2017 at 09:51 am

Players on the bubble? Capers is leaving. The switch to the 4-3-4 changes the status of these players = Dean Lowry, Quinton Dial, Montravis Adams, Ahmad Brooks, Joe Thomas. Jake Ryan, Kyler Frackwell, Chris Odom, Reggie gilbert. My hope is to push them this whole game. Make them show their Balls. 3rd and short everyone of these guys need to be in.

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Johnblood27's picture

December 31, 2017 at 10:44 am

I would prefer to NOT see any of the aforementioned balls.

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