The Lions: Pack's Perfect PanaceaPosted:Nov 13th, 2015 4:24 pm
The only way we'll learn much about the Pack on Sunday is if they don't dispatch with the lowly Lions early and decisively. Anything less than a laugher will cause the consternation to continue leading up to their road test against the Vikings.
We all know of the historic dominance the Packers have had at home in this series. The last time Detroit won in the state, the #1 song in the land was "Black or White" by Michael Jackson. Former Bear Mike Tomczak (shudder) was the Pack's QB that frigid December day, while an unknown rookie QB was sitting on the bench in Atlanta, probably wearing his Wranglers.
So in come the 1-7 Lions who have had quite an eventful two weeks. They flew to London, got embarrassed 45-10 by the Chiefs, flew home and watched as owner Martha Ford disemboweled the front office, axing the team's president and GM. This after three offensive coaches had been shown the door a week or so earlier.
Quite the precipitous fall for a team that was ahead of the Pack in the standings a year ago today. It's likely this is the end for Jim Caldwell, Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson. This organization will be starting over...again...the only concern is they pluck rising star Eliot Wolf from Pack, preventing him from his rightful place as Ted Thompson's successor. But that's not the A story this week.
On this week, the Packers look to begin righting the ship. Against this lost team, the Packers need to jump on them early (as they usually do to everyone at Lambeau) and dominate from start to finish.
Offensively, Mike McCarthy announced that James Starks has supplanted Eddie Lacy as the #1 running back. We'll see if that's permanent or if Lacy climbs out of his funk and takes over for the stretch drive. This is the kind of game where both guys should get 15+ touches and the offense should generate long, sustained drives. The Lions defense has been dreadful, particularly on third downs and is missing playmakers like Suh and Levy. We all expect Rodgers to get in sync with his receivers and have success down the field. If don't see an offensive spark this week, sound the alarms.
Defensively, this is an opportunity for a pass rush revival. Stafford has been getting pounded in recent weeks and the Pack needs to get to him early and often. Megatron has been dealing with a bad ankle and missed practice time this week, but expects to play. He and Golden Tate are still a formidable pair of WRs and the last two Packer foes have had big plays through the air with much lesser receivers.
So, is there any reason for concern? Any reason to believe the 24 year streak is in jeopardy of ending? No, not really. But the euphoria of the 6-0 start has been erased by the last two performances against top competition. The team is in a funk and needs to shake out of it now. With four straight divisional games looming, the team can end this Vikings hysteria over this stretch by winning these four games.
The Pack lists 15 players on the injury report this week, with only one (Mike Neal) not practicing on Thursday. But with three offensive linemen on the list, it bears watching how they come out on Sunday. Bryan Bulaga's trick knee is acting up and the two guards are dealing with back issues. Others listed as limited on Thursday were James Jones (quad), Casey Hayward (concussion), Lacy (groin), Clay Matthews (ankle/knee), Ty Montgomery (ankle), Nick Perry (shoulder/hand) and Sam Shields (shoulder). That's a banged up squad that needs to get healthy quickly.
Thankfully the Lions are coming to town. As usual, they will come into Lambeau like Lions and depart like lambs.
Packers 31 Lions 13