The Detroit Lions (4-5) have won just one of the last dozen games against the Green Bay Packers (6-3). That was a 7-3 win at Ford Field on Dec. 12, 2010, that was the first of four straight wins to end the season. Here are five things the Lions must do to beat the Packers on Sunday at Ford Field.
1. Start fast. Really. Seriously. I mean it this time. If the Lions can’t work themselves out of a hole against the Vikings, they would be unlikely to do it against the Packers. Even though they’ll be at the friendly confines of Ford Field.
2. Calvin Johnson had a career-high 12 catches Sunday which is fine. However, the rest of the receiving corps needs to get open and stop up. That includes Titus Young (four catches, 35 yards and a touchdown) and Ryan Broyles (one catch, 6 yards).
3. Stop me if you’ve heard this before too, but the defensive line must put more pressure on the quarterback, this time Aaron Rodgers. The Lions’ secondary is still beat up and could use some help from the line. In the first nine games the Lions have 19 sacks while the Packers have 28 — nine from Clay Matthews who will not play Sunday due to a hamstring injury.
4. Reduce penalties especially at inopportune times. Not to single him out, but Ryan Broyles crack-back penalty early last Sunday took the sails out of the offense which had been moving the ball. The Packers are the NFL’s least penalized team since week 6 with just 13 penalties for 119 yards in that stretch. It’s one reason why they are 6-3 and looking for their fifth straight win.
5. Get the running game back on track. It looked like the issues were solved against the Jaguars and then last week the Lions had just 60 rushing yards. The Lions are not looking for a 50-50 pass-rush balance, but they need a consistent running game.
Prediction: Lions 24, Packers 21