The Packers and Lions face off in a Thursday Night Football showdown in Week 4 of the 2023 NFL season. Both teams are coming off wins in Week 3, and this game will determine the early leader in the NFC North. It hasn’ts not often that Packers vs. Lions has this much at stake.
The Packers are led by new starting quarterback Jordan Love, who has looked better than anticipated in his first season. Love is still finding his way as a starting quarterback in the league but has been impressive so far this season. This week marks his biggest game of his young career.
Love hopefully will have his full complement of weapons at his disposal. He hasn’t been able to have the big three playmakers on the field at the same time; wide receivers Romeo Doubs and Christian Watson, and running back Aaron Jones. That could change on Thursday.
Additionally, the Packers also have a solid offensive line, which has given Love plenty of time to throw the ball and Jones the opportunity to run the ball. The concern is the number of injuries sustained on the line, with David Bakhtiari and Elgton Jenkins already ruled out.
On the opposing sideline, the Lions are led by quarterback Jared Goff, who is in his third season with the team. Goff has been solid for the Lions so far, and he also has number of talented weapons at his disposal, including wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown and rookie running back Jahmyr Gibbs.
Goff’s best trait is his accuracy and effectiveness on play action. He also has decent mobility, which allows him to evade pressure and extend plays. St. Brown is a game wrecker at wide receiver and to no surprise, he is one of Goff’s favorite targets. Gibbs is a rookie running back who has been impressive so far, and he is a dual-threat to catch the ball out of the backfield as much as his effectiveness at running back.
The Packers’ defense is led by their 2nd year linebacker, Quay Walker, who is quickly becoming one of the best linebackers in the league. Walker is a versatile defender who plays all three downs. Beyond being a solid tackler, this season he has also done a good job in some pass rush opportunities.
The Lions’ defense is highlighted by defensive end Aidan Hutchinson, who is the second overall pick in the 2023 NFL draft. Hutchinson is a high-motor player who is always around the ball. He is also a good pass rusher and a solid tackler.
This game is sure to be a close one, as both teams seem to be pretty evenly matched. The Lions have the more established quarterback in Goff, but the Packers have a been explosive in spurts. The home field advantage should also play a big a factor in this game, as Lambeau Field is a notoriously difficult place for visiting teams to win in primetime. It’s also tough on any team to travel on a short week.
- Jordan Love vs. Jared Goff: As highlighted above, this is easily the obvious key matchup in this game. Love is one of the best quarterbacks of all time, while Goff is an established veteran. Whoever can win the quarterback battle will likely lead their team to victory.
- Amon-Ra St. Brown vs. Jaire Alexander: St. Brown is one of the best young wide receivers in the league, and he will be going up against one of the best cornerbacks in the league in Alexander, assuming Alexander is healthy. This should be an incredible matchup to watch and will go a longs ways to determining the outcome.
- Royce Newman vs. Aidan Hutchinson: Royce Newman is playing for the injured Elgton Jenkins. He will be tested early and often by rising star Aidan Hutchinson. The Lions will find a multitude of ways to put their best pass rusher on the newly minted starter in Newman. This matchup will have a big impact on the game.
What to Watch For
- The Packers’ offense: The Packers’ offense has been inconsistent in the first three weeks of the season. They have put up some big numbers, but they have also had some struggles with execution. If the Packers want to win this game, they will need their offense to be on point.
- The Lions’ defense: The attacking Lions’ defense has been one of the best surprises of the season so far. They have been able to pressure opposing quarterbacks and force turnovers. If the Lions can continue to play good defense, they will have a good chance to win this game.
- The home field advantage: Will the Packers get the homefield advantage they often get in prime time or will the fans be more interested in doing the wave come on offense? If the Packers can get off to a good start and get the crowd into a frenzy, it will be tough for the Lions to keep up.
This is a tricky game to predict, as both teams are both are struggling with injuries and it’s early in the season. However, I think the Packers will have a slight edge in this one. They have the home field advantage and on a short week, that means little more than normal. It’ll stay close though, with Packers squeaking out a win by a score of 24-21.
Jordan is a lifelong Packer fan who grew up in Idaho and now lives in Seattle, Washington. You can follow him on twitter at @jordantwolf.