Packers at Lions: 10 Questions to Ponder

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  • Is the Pressure on Green Bay or Detroit?

The pressure is on Detroit. Sure, if Green Bay loses tomorrow, a lot will have to happen in order for the Packers to make the playoffs. However, Green Bay would sweep the Lions with a win tomorrow at Ford Field. The Lions cannot afford to fall behind a division rival that swept them and is getting Aaron Rodgers back in the coming weeks. It’s now or never for the Lions.

Note: At this point, division record will decide who wins the close race for the NFC North. Currently, Detroit is 3-1, Green Bay is 2-1-1, and Chicago is 2-2.

  • Can Matt Flynn perform at the same level he did when he threw six touchdowns in 2011?

No, that was 2011 and this is 2013. The Packers were an all-time great and HEALTHY offense that season. I’m almost certain Flynn will not throw six touchdowns.

However, Flynn can perform well. He led the Packers back from a 23-7 deficit in the fourth quarter against the Vikings last week. Mike McCarthy and the coaching staff seems more comfortable running the natural offense when Flynn is under center over rookie Scott Tolzien.

“I thought Matt Flynn came in on offense and gave us the spark that we needed,” McCarthy said last Sunday. “We transitioned into some no-huddle that, frankly, we hadn’t worked on in a number of weeks.”- (via Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

Flynn also has Eddie Lacy in his backfield this year. It will be important for the Packers to incorporate a game plan that keeps control of the time of possession and Lions defense off-balanced. I feel that Matt Flynn gives Green Bay the best shot of doing that.

  • Will the Lions be a mature team on the big stage?

I think this is the question everyone wants answered. The last few years, the Lions have either shit the bed or lost their tempers on the national stage.

Here are some good examples.

  • Which coach do you trust more? Mike McCarthy or Jim Schwartz?

If Scott Tolzien or Seneca Wallace started tomorrow, I would answer with Jim Schwartz. McCarthy seemed lost the last few weeks because he didn’t have the production at quarterback to be effective. Strategy is meaningless if the execution isn’t where it needs to be.

McCarthy and his coaching staff is familiar with Flynn and I think that gives the edge back to McCarthy.

After all, I’m not high on Jim Schwartz. In 2011 and 2012, his teams were terrible during the second half of the season. He might be partly to blame for that.

  • What is the most interesting matchup?

Duh….. the Packers offensive line against the Detroit defensive line. In terms of talent, the edge clearly goes to Detroit but a fan cannot ignore the impending drama that will unfold after these comments from Packers’ guard Josh Sitton:

“They go after quarterbacks. Their (Lions) entire defense takes cheap shots all the time. That’s what they do; that’s who they are. They’re a bunch of dirtbags or scumbags. That’s how they play. That’s how they’re coached.” -(via 1250 WSSP)

“That starts with their frickin’ coach. The head coach, Schwartz, he’s a (expletive), too. I wouldn’t want to play for him. It starts with him and their D-coordinator and D-line coach. They’re all just scumbags and so is the D-line.”-(via 1250 WSSP)

  • What does Detroit have to do in order to win against Packers?
  1. Don’t turn the ball over.

The best rule of thumb in the NFL: the team that wins the turnover battle almost always wins the game.

2.Play a complete game.

Inconsistency doesn’t win big games. Detroit has to overcome that characteristic on Thursday.

3. Run the football

Green Bay’s defense is giving up over 100 yards per game on the ground over the past four weeks. If Reggie Bush was truly a steal on the free agency market, he shows up in a big way tomorrow.

  • What does Green Bay have to do in order to beat Lions?

The Packers have to extend drives. They cannot go three and out on multiple occasions and give their beat-up defense a short field to defend with no rest. Running the ball and more importantly, converting on third down will be the blueprint for a Packers win.

  • Does Green Bay need Aaron Rodgers to win tomorrow?

No, Green Bay can move the ball down the field with Matt Flynn. However, Aaron Rodgers makes a huge difference on third down. Matt Flynn has to be effective on third down for a Packers win.

  • Player to watch?

DeAndre Levy.

The Lions’ linebacker is one of the league leaders in interceptions. The team that wins the game will be the team that makes a play on defense. DeAndre Levy is your best bet for that to happen.

  • Final score?

24-21 Lions….

DeAndre Levy intercepts a tipped pass in the redzone and that becomes the difference in the game.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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