Lions Week 17 Game Preview: Green Bay Packers
Dec 24, 2016; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) appears to be holding an injured wrist during the Packers 38-25 victory over the Minnesota Vikings at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Rick Wood /Milwaukee Journal Sentinel via USA TODAY NETWORK
Opponent Breakdown: Green Bay Packers
(9-6) 1st in NFC North
The (9-6) Detroit Lions come into Week 17 game on a two-game skid, looking to salvage the season with a win over Aaron Rodgers and the (9-6) Green Bay Packers. Green Bay has significantly more momentum, rebounding from a 4-6 start to win five straight games and in position to steal the NFC North from Detroit in the final week.
The Packers looked to be dead in the water before they got their fifth win. Aaron Rodgers said he felt the team could run the table, though. Six weeks later, he looks like he may have topped his “relax” moment from a few years ago. Green Bay has history on their side, but more than anything they’re as hot as anyone in football right now.
Head Coach: Mike McCarthy
Dec 18, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy during the second half against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Green Bay won 30-27. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Record: 121-68-1 (With 1 Super Bowl Win)
2016 Offense: 26.7 Points Per Game (8th)
2016 Defense: 24.3 Points Allowed (23rd)
Head Coach Mike McCarthy gets a lot of flack in Green Bay, despite being a perennial Playoff contender with a Super Bowl ring. He transitioned the team from Brett Favre to Aaron Rodgers almost seamlessly.This season, he’s proven he can handle the pressure of a fan base with extremely high standards.
The Packers were pretty bad all around to start the season. And as you can tell, they’re not statistically very good on the defensive side of the ball (ranked 23rd). They do have one damn good quarterback, playing some of his best football over the past few weeks. It’s been one hell of a job for McCarthy to steer this team back to contention after a 4-6 start.
Quarterback: Aaron Rodgers
Aug 13, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) runs the ball during the first quarter against the New England Patriots in a preseason NFL football game at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
4,128 Passing Yards, 36 TDs, 7 INT, 102.7 QB Rating
Rodgers, after many were writing him off for some reason, has responded with a late MVP push. His numbers are right up there and if his team should take the NFC North, it’ll be hard to deny. The Lions must get pressure on Rodgers or else he will have his way with the back end of the Lions’ defense. The Lions must do better than they did in their first meeting with Green Bay this season. Rodgers threw 4 touchdowns in the first half of that game, all but winning before halftime. The Packers start and end with the man who goes by “Mr Rodgers” to his fans (and to his family by “who?”).
Watch out For:
Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson (87) runs the ball against the Seattle Seahawks during the first half in the NFC Championship game at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
WR Jordy Nelson
91 Catches for 1,195 Receiving Yards
14 Receiving Touchdowns
Jordy Nelson missed last season with a leg injury but has re-emerged as Aaron Rodgers’ top threat. He has an impressive 91 catches, but his 14 TDs are first in the NFL. People often underestimate Nelson’s speed. That’s not something Detroit will likely do, however, having been burned enough times by Nelson not to be so careless. If the Lions can take away Nelson — something that will be easier with Slay back — they can get Rodgers to hold onto the ball longer. They have to make him uncomfortable in the pocket. And that starts with taking Nelson away.
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