Game: Green Bay Packers vs. Detroit Lions
Time & Location: Monday 8:30 PM EST; Lambeau Field; Green Bay, Wisconsin
Previous Meeting: 2016 Week 17, Packers Won 31-24
After sprinting out to a 4-1 record to start the season, the Packers have stumbled in the following two games since star quarterback Aaron Rodgers broke his collarbone. The Lions, meanwhile, come into this game riding a three-game losing streak. The Packers should be very happy to get starting safety Morgan Burnett back in the lineup, who is expected to play after missing the last two weeks with a hamstring injury. Ty Montgomery has also been battling a rib injury in recent weeks, but should be closer to full strength come Monday night. Nick Perry and Clay Matthews have had subpar seasons by their standards, but if backup tackle Greg Robinson isn’t able to go they could have big days against Brian Mihalik.
The Lions defense has been one of the most opportunistic this season. Coming into this week’s game, they rank tied for 3rd in total takeaways with 16. Brett Hundley has struggled to take care of the ball since taking over for Aaron Rodgers, with 4 interceptions in two games. With Martellus Bennett possibly out for this game and Darius Slay shadowing Davante Adams, running back Aaron Jones should be in for a heavy workload. He’s currently the better back between he and Ty Montgomery, and has earned the touches. Yards on the ground could be difficult to come by against the 3rd ranked run defense, but until Brett Hundley opens up the offense more, it needs to be a lot of Aaron Jones handoffs.
The Lions put up 482 yards of offense last week, but they couldn’t punch the ball into the endzone. They finished with five field goals on the night, but that’s not the type of scores a team with playoff aspirations can afford to put up on a regular basis. The Lions top wideout Golden Tate could be in for a big game matched up against Damarious Randall in the slot. Randall has struggled in coverage, grading out as the 103rd ranked corner among qualified players. He has been opportunistic in recent weeks with three straight games recording an interception, and the Packers defense is going to have to keep up the aggressive behavior if the team is going to have a shot at winning this game.
After starting the season with a stifling run defense, the Packers have slipped all the way down to 23rd. This could be a get-right game for Lions starter Ameer Abdullah, who has flashed potential in his young career, but has yet to put together consistent production. The Lions are setup for success in this game with an offense against a defense struggling to find its groove, and a defense that creates turnovers frequently against a quarterback that has struggled to take care of the ball. The Packers main hope in this game is to force Stafford to make mistakes, and have Aaron Jones run the ball 25+ times in the game.
Final Score Prediction: Detroit Lions 24, Green Bay Packers 17
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