A lot of attention will be paid this weekend to the battle between the embattled Packers offensive line and the polarizing Detroit Lions front seven. Last season everyone saw Lions defensive tackle Ndomakung Suh stomp on Evan Dietrich-Smith on Thanksgiving, making that image possibly the defining moment of Suh’s career. He has been voted as the dirtiest player in the NFL more than once, but is also a menace to any offensive line he faces. Combining him, Cliff Avril, Kyle Vanden Bosch and Nick Fairley, Detroit has the firepower to keep Aaron Rodgers on his back all game. It is up to the Packers offensive line and scheming strategies to keep that from happening. So far this season the Packers have been tied for the second worst team in the NFL regarding sacks given up per game with 3.2. If Green Bay expects to win on Sunday, they have to get this number down and fast.
History has shown that when Aaron Rodgers has time to get the ball out to his playmakers, the Packers are pretty hard to beat. When he’s faced pressure and been sacked multiple times, it is a different story. Rodgers is the Packers’ single most valuable player, and if he does not have enough time to make plays Green Bay will have a hard time winning on the road to a division and hated rival. The Lions’ defense has been a little down this year, but they will no doubt have a little extra spring in their step as their season is on the line and they haven’t beaten Green Bay in a while. This means that Green Bay coaches will have to scheme to add protection for Rodgers with running backs, tight ends, and other linemen. It will also mean that the Packers should balance the offense more with their running game, and hope that this helps with play action as well as slows down the Detroit rush. I’ll be paying close attention to this specific matchup, and my guess is that if Rodgers can stay on his feet, Green Bay wins this game.