The Green Bay Packers host the Detroit Lions on Sunday at Lambeau Field, in a rivalry game in the NFC North. The game is at 8:20 pm eastern time and will be shown on NBC as part of their Sunday Night Football broadcast.
Why you should watch: This is always one of the best rivalry games in the NFL, as the Lions and Packers’ fan bases are not friends, to put it lightly. In addition, this will be the first game of the year that is projected to be played in snow, in frozen Lambeau on a cold Sunday night. The Lions have also not won in Green Bay since 1999, which was also the last time the Lions won a playoff game. The Packers hope to keep up with the Bears in the NFC North, and if they win and the Bears lose they will take over sole possession of the division.
What to watch for: The Packers offense was not very efficient last week, so they will be looking to bounce back this week against a vulnerable Lions secondary, who gave up a game winning touchdown as time ran out last week to lose 35-33. I will be looking to see if Aaron Rodgers can pick apart the defense the same way rookie Andrew Luck did just last week. Ryan Grant will be back in the fold at running back, so I will be looking to see if they can take advantage of Detroit in what could be blustery conditions which would make passing it very difficult.
Key Matchups: The most important matchup of this game will be Randall Cobb against the Lions defense. Cobb has consistently shown that he is the Packers’ x-factor, and they will do anything they can to get the ball in his hands. When Cobb has the ball in open space he is very explosive and can make big plays to turn stalling drives into points. Green Bay lines him up at all positions, including running back, split out wide, and in the slot; all in hopes to get him the ball in a mis-match. His play will likely determine how effective the Packers offense is, which will be a big factor in this game.
The Pick: The Packers will continue their momentum in this one, taking it 27-18. The Packers will try to use their running game to establish field position and keep the ball, and the weather could dictate how the game is played. Detroit’s running offense has not played very well, but they have improved somewhat of late. I think Green Bay will be able to stop them and hold on for the win.