Packers at Lions: Gameday Preview - 2022 Week 9

Don't look now, but it's not the Same Old Lions. Detroit has been impressive on offense this year and will test (and possibly break) an inconsistent Packers defense. 

WHEN THE LIONS HAVE THE BALL

Brace yourself - the Lions offense has shown a lot this year.

However, they've cooled lately.

After averaging an NFL-best 35 points per game in the first 4 games, they returned to Same-Old-Lions form in getting shut out by the Patriots and only putting up 6 against the Cowboys (while turning the ball over 7 times in 2 games). Last week, they showed renewed fire in putting up 27 on the Dolphins.

Jared Goff has been having a good year, but will be without his most productive target, TJ Hockenson, who led the team with 395 yards and 3 touchdowns and was traded to the Vikings earlier this week. Amon-Ra St.Brown is now the lead receiver and has proven himself to be a very capable possession receiver, while Kalif Raymond and Josh Reynolds have emerged as reliable targets in supporting roles. These aren't household names, but they are productive football players.

The Lions spread the ball around, so the Packers will need all their defense backs to play well. I would expect the Lions to pick on Eric Stokes. If he's not on his A-game or doesn't have help, this could escalate to a shootout.

When the Lions run, they'll turn to our old friend, Jamaal Williams. Since taking over the starting role, Williams has flourished, averaging 4.5 yards per carry and rushing for 8 touchdowns (good for 2nd in the league, despite the fact that the Lions already had their bye and he wasn't starting for the first half of the season). The Lions offensive line has done a solid job opening holes and the Packers will have to play tough up front to slow him down.

With De'Vondre Campbell out for this game, Quay Walker will call the defense and be counted on to lead the charge in run defense. His sideline to sideline speed is great, but Campbell's physicality would probably be a better counter for Jamaal Williams and the Lions run game. 

Overall, the Packers defense will be tested on all fronts. They're playing a team that can run and pass, will go horizontal and vertical, and has proven they're capable of putting up pinball numbers. Playing in a dome will make it even easier on them.

The Packers, for as inconsistent as their defense has been, have the talent to stop anyone. We've been scratching our heads as to why they aren't, but if they let this Lions offense take over the game, it may be the end of their faint playoff hopes.

 

WHEN THE PACKERS HAVE THE BALL

The Packers offense showed some signs of life at Buffalo.

Samori Toure flashed and Romeo Doubs put up a couple deep highlight catches. Plus, Aaron Jones gashed the NFL's best run defense for over 7 yards per carry (more than double what the Bills allowed coming in).

If the Packers offense was looking for a place to build some offensive momentum, Detroit would be the place. The Lions, like the Packers, have invested some high picks in their defense. Unlike the Packers, they are the dead-last in the NFL.

You read that right: there is a defense worse than the Packers.

And we get to play against it today!

Number 2 overall pick and hometown hero Aiden Hutchinson has been good this year, but was not the instant superstar Detroit had hoped for. His 4.5 sacks lead the team, but no other Lion even has 2 sacks on the year. Their 9 sacks as a team are tied for dead-last in the league. This goes well with their dead-last rank in points, their dead-last rank in yards, and their dead-last rank in first downs allowed.

They're terrible.

And they're equally terrible against the run and the pass.

The Packers should have a get well game for their offensive line today. David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins are both questionable, but the Lions front is so bad, the Packers should be effective even if Royce Newman has to start.

Allen Lazard will be a game time decision and Christian Watson is listed as questionable. Romeo Doubs, Sammy Watkins, and Samori Toure might be counted heavily, but that should be enough. In the dome, the Packers should be able to get their passing game going against a couple former first round picks who have never lived up to their potential in Jeffrey Okudah and Mike Hughes.

If they go up-tempo, there's no reason this game can't be a launch pad to success for the entire offense. If they stay balanced, Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon can both have big days against a defense that has given up over 200 yards rushing twice this year.

This should be the most fun we've had watching the Packers offense all year.

 

OTHER NOTES

The Lions defense has exactly one turnover in each of the last 6 games.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

The Packers were looking pretty good a month ago and no one predicted the Week 9 matchup against the Lions could end their season.

For as bad as they've played, they haven't had a rash of season-ending injuries, which means their talented roster is mostly intact and they still have hope.

There's been plenty of bad play and bad attitudes, but something looked a little different in their latest loss. Players looked like they were playing a little more confident and multiple Packers said there's a different energy in the locker room. We've heard platitudes like this before, but this time I believe them.

I think the Packers turn things around today, even if it's just for one week.

Packers 33, Lions 27

 

 

Bruce Irons has played, coached, and studied football for decades. Best-selling author of books such as A Fan's Guide To Understanding The NFL Draft, A Fan's Guide To Understanding The NFL Salary Cap, and A Fan's Guide To NFL Free Agency Hits And Misses, Bruce contributes to CheeseHeadTV and PackersForTheWin.com.

Follow Bruce Irons on Twitter at @BruceIronsNFL.

 

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Comments (3)

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Handsback's picture

November 06, 2022 at 07:27 am

As fans we want to say our team is so much better than its record.
The Packers have a losing record because they earned it. We can say they have the potential to beat the the Lions, but do they have the will?
Would love to see a blow out win, but will enjoy a one point victory at this point.
Green Bay needs to get its swagger back. I hope this is the game where it happens.

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Packerpasty's picture

November 06, 2022 at 09:44 am

The Lions have been scoring a lot of points, can this defense slow them down?? Lions defense aint much but if they have a good game today it may be trouble for the Pack..

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Since'61's picture

November 06, 2022 at 11:14 am

Hoping for a Packers victory today. I believe that it can happen but I’m no longer confident in the coaches or most of their players. The team has not been playing with confidence especially during the current losing streak.

I can see the Packers down in the 4th quarter with about 6-7 minutes to play 24-17. Rodgers and the offense go on a time consuming TD drive to tie the score at 24 with about 2 minutes to play.

Then our defense, playing soft zone folds up and enables the Lions to score the go ahead FG with 14 seconds left on the clock. At one point near midfield the Packers had the Lions in a 4th and 6 but either Douglas or Stokes is called for a ticky-tack penalty for holding or illegal contact, or illegal hands to the face giving the Lions a first down to continue the game winning FG drive. Lions 27- Pack 24 because that’s the way this season has gone and because Barry and his defensive scheme are bad and at their worst when they are needed the most.

Hope I’m wrong but this is basically a playoff game for the Packers and we have seen enough to know how that works out under MLF. Thanks, Since ‘61

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