Packers vs. Lions Preview

The Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions face off in a divisional battle and a rival showdown at 1:00 on Sunday at Ford Field. The game will be shown on FOX.

Why you should watch: One of the most intense rivalries in the NFL will most likely be a heated affair once again Sunday. The Packers are on a roll and a win would put them firmly in the NFC playoff picture, while the Lions are fighting to save their season and need a win to keep their playoff hopes alive. The Packers will be without many regular starters, including Clay Matthews, Greg Jennings, and Charles Woodson, and it will be interesting to see if their backups can step up again.

What to watch for: Clay Matthews will miss this game and an important thing to look for will be how his backups fare against the explosive Detroit receivers and running backs. Calvin Johnson and Titus Young could eat Green Bay’s linebackers alive unless Green Bay’s backups step up to try to fill the gap left by the absence of their best defensive play maker. The Packers’ defense has been improved this year, and most of that has been a result of Matthews’ ability to make plays, sack the opposing quarterbacks, and stop the run on a consistent basis. Without his presence, the Lions could get into a rhythm and control the flow of the game on offense.

Key matchups: Calvin Johnson vs the Packers’ secondary will be the most important matchup in this game. Megatron can exploit any hole in the defense and that is exactly what the Packers could have minus Charles Woodson and Clay Matthews. He will certainly see consistent safety help and double coverage, but he has shown that he can still change the game despite the added attention. If he draws more attention, Titus Young and the Lions’ tight ends could benefit from one-on-one matchups on the outside. This battle will play a big part in deciding the outcome of this game.

The Pick: The Packers will go on the road and win this one in a game full of offensive fireworks, 35-27. Aaron Rodgers will prove to be too much for the Lions’ secondary to handle and the Packers will do just enough to win, severely wounding Detroit’s chance at making the playoffs.

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