Packers Hope to Avoid 1-3 Start Sunday vs. Lions

Green Bay Packers

By Martin Mihaly

The Packers are currently 1-2 coming off their Week Four bye. Their lone victory this season was at home against a struggling Washington Redskins team. They lost in Week One at the San Francisco 49ers 34-28, and a heartbreaker in Week Three at the Cincinnati Bengals 34-30.

 

The Packers are at home this week against the Detroit Lions. The Packers are trying to avoid a 1-3 start to the season. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers has been his usual outstanding self. Through three games, Rodgers has thrown for eight touchdowns, three interceptions, 1,057 yards, and completed 66.7% percent of his passes. The Packers will finally have rookie Running Back Eddie Lacy back this week. It’s been a slow start to the career of the Alabama product. Lacy struggled in Week One against the 49ers, gaining just 41 yards on 14 carries. Lacy had one carry for ten yards against the Redskins in Week Two, but suffered a concussion following a hit to the head from Safety Brandon Merriweather. Lacy was not healthy enough to play in Week Three’s game against Cincinnati.

Courtesy of ICON SMI

Courtesy of ICON SMI

 

The Packers will be without Running Back James Starks this week. Starks suffered a knee injury in their Week Three loss. Coach Mike McCarthy believes it will take a few weeks until Starks returns.

 

The Packers will rely on their two rookie Running Backs this week, Lacy and Johnathan Franklin. Franklin had a big game against the Bengals in his rookie debut. The former UCLA product finished the game with 13 carries for 103 yards and a touchdown, including a 51 yard run. He also had three catches for 23 yards. Franklin did have the biggest turnover of the game. As the Packers decided to go for it on a 4th and 1 play to run more time off the clock, Franklin fumbled the ball. The Bengals recovered and took the ball into the endzone for the game’s final touchdown.

 

The Packers will also be without cornerback Casey Hayward. Hayward had a standout rookie season last year, winning the leagues Rookie Defensive Player of the Year honors. However, Hayward has yet to see the field this season. The second year player has been held out due to a nagging hamstring injury.

 

The Packers secondary has struggled with the absence of Hayward and starting Safety Morgan Burnett. Burnett, who missed the first three games to a hamstring injury, will finally return this week. In his absence, Safeties M.D. Jennings and Jerron McMillan have struggled with missed assignments and missed tackles. The Packers defense has allowed 311 yards per game through the air.

 

The Packers defense will have a tall task this week. Lions Quarterback Matthew Stafford has thrown for over 10,000 in just the last two seasons. So far this season, Stafford has for 1,200 yards through four games and completed 64.1% of his passes while throwing for seven touchdowns and three interceptions. Stafford is aided by dynamic Running Backs Joique Bell and Reggie Bush. The Lions backfield has become one of the most explosive in the league. The two have combined for 89 carries, 385 rushing yards, 29 receptions, 386 receiving yards, and five total touchdowns. The Lions also have the leagues best receiver. Calvin Johnson set the league record last season for most receiving yards in a season with 1,964, breaking the old mark held by Jerry Rice. Although his numbers have not been quite as outstanding as last years yet, Johnson still has two games of over 100 yards receiving. His numbers for this season are 21 catches, for 312 yards and four touchdowns.

 

The Lions also have one of the better defensive lines in the NFL. Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley, and rookie Defensive End Ziggy Ansah, help form a formidable line.

 

The Packers have not lost to the Lions in Lambeau Field since 1991, a year before Brett Favre arrived to Green Bay. Despite going just 4-12 last year, the 3-1 Lions are much improved this season. Expect a close, high-scoring match this Sunday as the Packers look to avoid falling to 1-3 for the season. With one of the leagues toughest schedules remaining, and the Lions being a divisional opponent, this is a crucial game early in the season for Green Bay.


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