Packers vs. Lions: Five downs with SideLion Report
This week of Five Downs gives us the NFC North Championship Game edition. A one game winner-take-all versus the Detroit Lions.
Joining us this week is site expert for the Side Lion Report, Matthew Urben.
How will the North unfold in primetime on Sunday night? Will the Packers be left watching the playoffs from the friendly confines of their own sofas? Read ahead to see what the Lions are saying ahead of Sunday’s matchup.
Lombardi Ave: If I am looking at things correctly, the Lions only played three games outdoors for the entire regular season. They also lost all three of those games. How much of an advantage is it in the Lions’ favor that this game will also be played inside the dome of Detroit, as opposed to Lambeau Field?
Side Lion Report: The Lions are much better at home without a doubt. Their defense seems to get amped up from the home crowd. Plus, most of Matthew Stafford‘s comebacks have been at Ford Field. Stafford’s road record against winning teams is fairly abysmal so I think it’s a huge boost for a struggling Lions team to get back to Ford Field.
Lombardi Ave: Outside of Aaron Rodgers, what player should Detroit fear the most on Sunday night? You can go either side of the ball with this one.
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Side Lion Report: The Lions should fear Jordy Nelson with their secondary reeling from injuries. They lost nickel corner Quandre Diggs for the season and Darius Slay it’s not likely to be 100% for this game. The Packers are definitely running the ball better, but slowing down Nelson will be necessary if the Lions are to keep this one close.
Lombardi Ave: Aaron Rodgers didn’t necessarily guarantee the Packers would run the table. He did suggest the Packers needed to accomplish that feat to make the playoffs. What do you make of the statement and the ‘mojo’ of the Packers since it was made? As a fan, how would you accept something similar from Matthew Stafford?
Side Lion Report: As someone who has watched Rodgers closely over the past few seasons, I would say I believed him when he said that. He proved he could back it up when he had his “relax” moment from a couple of years ago. I appreciate that kind of confidence and accountability he is placing on his team. I would absolutely love it if Stafford were to do something like that. But I think it’s safe to say he would never say something like that because he’s more reserved/generic than Rodgers.
Lombardi Ave: Matthew Stafford is about five years younger than Aaron Rodgers. With that said, if you could pick only one to be the quarterback of the franchise, who would you choose? Also, if you could cast a vote for MVP this season only picking between the two, who would you cast your vote for?
Side Lion Report: That’s a very good question and if we knew Rodgers was going to play at least 5-7 more seasons (which I think he probably will) it would be hard to go against him. What makes this a tough call, though, is that I think Stafford has yet to play his best football. He still has that hunger to be great. While Aaron Rodgers has already proven his greatness time and time again. I think in a couple years this debate will be more of a tossup but right now it’s got to be Rodgers. Right now it’s looking like Rogers for MVP. But I would say whichever quarterback plays the better game and leads their team to victory in this NFC North showdown, I would give my vote to.
Lombardi Ave: Finally, who wins the NFC North Championship game Sunday night? Give us a score along with the key players that reflect the most upon the outcome.
Side Lion Report: To me, this game comes down to whether Detroit’s defense comes to play or not. Last time these two met up, Rodgers had four touchdowns in the first half. Prior to last week’s game against the Cowboys, Detroit was on a six-game streak of holding opponents under 20 points. Even though it feels like momentum is going Green Bay’s way, many predicted the Lions would lose those past two games and take care of business at home. I think Golden Tate has the biggest game of his career and Detroit wins 31-27. Although I fully expect the Washington Redskins to lose that game against the Giants and both teams end up getting in.
A big thanks to Matthew Urben and The Side Lion Report for their time this week. You can follow both on Twitter @Matturben88 @SideLionReport. You can also see how we answered their Q&A over at the SideLionReport.