Well. Are you still freaking out? It’d be ok if you were. Green Bay played very badly on Sunday. The highest rated quarterback in the history of football, and Green Bay’s annual best hope for a Super Bowl Championship, Aaron Rodgers, might have played the worst game of his professional career. Beyond that, the Packers lost to the Vikings in Minnesota for the first time since 2012.
Beyond that, bad things are starting to become a trend. Aaron Rodgers hasn’t really played all that well since the Packers entered the 2015 bye week 6-0. Not only that, but Green Bay is 6-8 (including playoffs) since that time. All the wrongs that were supposed to be righted by the return of Jordy Nelson have not been. Neither Nelson or Randall Cobb appear to be the players that they were in 2014.
Speaking of trends that have been broken, the Detroit Lions at home have long been the team that the Packers right the ship against, especially in games played in Wisconsin. Detroit won in Wisconsin for the first time in Theo Riddick’s lifetime last season and broke a “curse” that seemed to be unbreakable.
That’s not great news if you’re a Packer fan this weekend. Green Bay is a team that desperately needs to get it right on one specific side of the ball. Rodgers and the Packers offense need to come to the party, because the defense is clearly already here.
Why the Packers will win: Maybe I’m stubborn. Maybe I refuse to believe that all of these players on offense that aren’t old enough to be washed up (Nelson 31, Rodgers 32, Cobb 26 [!]) are washed up. Maybe I’ve become convinced that if the Packers offense can’t get it done with Cobb, Nelson and Adams they can turn to Cook, Davis and Abbrederis.
It’s clear to me that the 2016 defense has not taken a step back from the outstanding defense the Packers played in 2015. The Packers must play offense. The Lions (admittedly through two games) are just 27th in defensive DVOA. If the 2016 Packers offense has hope I’m gonna need to see it at home against a bad defense.
Detroit is (of course) missing Calvin Johnson, but will also miss Ameer Abdullah for the remainder of the season. Theo Riddick is going to have to shoulder the load for the Lions because Joquie Bell still isn’t a part of the plan in Detroit for 2016. The Lions haven’t really missed a beat on offense so far this season offensively, sporting a #3 ranking in offensive DVOA. It’s hard to believe when you look at the names of the players involved in the Lion offense, but Jim Bob Cooter is really moving the ball. Detroit will be a big test for the Packers defense, who will again be without Shields.
Why the Lions will win: well because the Packers have all of the same problems that caused them to lose to Detroit at Lambeau field in 2015. The offense is sputtering, the defense is very good but not dominant and the Packers desperately need a bounceback.
Regardless of how bad Detroit is on defense, if Green Bay is going to continue to play like one of the worst units in the league they’re not going to score. If Detroit plays well on offense there is certainly a scenario in which they not only cover the 8 point spread, but win the game outright.
Bottom Line: Packers 34 Lions 20. Sshhhhhhhhh.