Well here we are. Another week, another Packer game that will no doubt either reaffirm fan’s faith in the team or create so many questions heading into the bye. But this week could be really telling about where the team is headed.
Apologies for missing last week’s edition of 3…2…1…, I got caught up in my new job at the radio station and got back so late that my brain wouldn’t function the way I prefer to write. But I’m fully functioning now, used to the grind of working nights again and ready for another edition of 3…2…1…, this time focusing on the Lions.
For those of you who didn’t read here last year, the 3…2…1… series is a countdown of things the team needs to do to win. I highlight 3 key players (usually not big name guys), 2 bold predictions, and 1 key stat that the Packers need to win. But before I jump into it, let’s take a quick look at last week. Once the regular season starts, I’ll start keeping track week to week to see if I have been effective in predicting the Packers keys.
3 KEY PLAYERS
- #53 NICK PERRY
- No Clay Matthews means a heavy dose of Perry in all situations. He is off to a great start now that he is heathy to start a season for the first time. Holding the edge very well against the run, he has arguably been the best Packer defender in that aspect, and he has also gotten to the quarterback effectively (1.5 sacks). And he will need to have a game like that Sunday, causing havoc the entire time to help overcome the loss of Matthews.
- #29 KENTRELL BRICE
- Brice will likely see a lot of time on defense Sunday with Morgan Burnett out and Micah Hyde being the swiss army knife still. Brice has the range and power to make a team with some undersized receivers like Detroit pay for going down the field. Look for Brice to be all over the ball and with Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, making plays sideline to sideline. This could be his big audition for more time after the bye. We could also see some of Marwin Evans here as well.
- #27 EDDIE LACY
- Mike McCarthy talked a lot about re-establishing the run game, and that could mean a heavy dose of Lacy in this game, which will suit this team well. Lacy is at his best when given a lot of carries and wearing the defense down. And Detroit is missing a lot of key members of their defense, leaving them susceptible to the power run game. Eddie should get 20 carries and look for a bruising performance from the Alabama thunder.
2 BOLD PREDICTIONS
- The offense puts up 35+ points in a statement performance.
- So much has been made of this offense after a rough game against a top defense, and to an extent rightfully so. There has been something off last week and it wasn’t pretty. But don’t forget that these weapons will have to heat up sooner rather than later and as they continue to work together in practice and during games, the likelihood of that happening is increasing by the day. Receivers coach Luke Getsy went on record saying that those big plays with Jordy Nelson were on the horizon and I believe him. Detroit isn’t a good team defensively and I expect a huge game from the offense, scoring at will, especially early in the third quarter.
- Each of the four remaining outside linebackers will have at least half a sack.
- Clay’s absence hurts a lot, but it does give the opportunity for young guys like Perry, Jayrone Elliott, and Kyler Fackrell to prove themselves in the NFL. And I expect that to happen. Detroit’s line has struggled despite their high pedigree in the draft. Riley Reiff in particular at right tackle has had his problems in pass protection. I expect each of them to get to Matt Stafford at least once, with some sharing of the sacks.
1 KEY STAT
- This one is pretty self-explanatory. Penalties can kill drives and end games. Look at last week, on both sides. Penalties were a key part of the game, and this week is no different. But after being on the end of some really touchy calls last week, the Packers have a little better idea of how the game might be called and adjust accordingly. If they can avoid the third down or defensive penalty, they are in great shape to go to 2-1.
- Packers go to 2-1 with a 38-17 win.
Mike Wendlandt is originally from Iola, Wisconsin and graduated from Drake University in 2015 with a degree in History. With a significant journalism background both in writing and broadcasting, Mike can be heard as the play-by-play voice of Central Wisconsin High School sports on WDUX FM 92.7 and on Twitter @MikeWendlandt.
Mike Wendlandt is a writer covering the Green Bay Packers for PackersTalk.com.