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Lions vs Packers; Thanksgiving Pre-game

It is Thanksgiving. A time to spend with those we love, feast on Turkey, stuffing, potatoes, and several other dishes until we are ready to puke. Then we stuff our faces with pie! Then of course, there is Detroit Lions football.

The last time the Lions played a Thanksgiving game that had any more meaning to it than winning on the holiday was 2007. The Lions were 6-4 going into that game and lost 26-37 and went on to win only one more game for the season. The team we lost to? The Green Bay Packers.

The Lions are now 7-3 and for once they play a meaningful game on Thanksgiving and again they play the packers. This time however, the Packers are undefeated and very few believe the Lions will beat them. The Packers are the NFL juggernaut. They have an offense that has scored 355 points this year (37 more points than the second highest scoring team the Saints). They have looked great in each and every game they have played this year.

The Lions on the other hand, have looked great in two games against lesser foes and in the second half of a few other games. Though the Lions are the 3rd highest scoring team (301 pts), they have practically lived off of the big play ability of a few star players. Their offense has struggle mightily at one point or another of most of their games this year. So how can the Lions possibly think of beating the Packers?

Let me tell you. It is not only possible, I think they will do it!

The Packers live off of the pass. Their running game, quite frankly, is no better than the Lions (who also live off the pass). The most efficient way to slow down a great passing attack is by getting pressure on the opposing quarterback. Manning, Brady, Brees, and yes, even Rodgers, have had bad games when their offensive line does not give them enough time to go through their reads. The Lions will bring one of the most ferocious pass rushes in the NFL. The Lions are not so bad at covering the receivers either and this can make a long day for Rodgers.

The goal is not to stop Rodgers and the Packers passing game. That will not be done. The goal is to limit it enough so that the Lions offense can come out on top. I have no doubt the Lions defense can do just that! That is why this game will depend so much on Scott Linehan.

Against the Broncos, Linehan called nearly 40% of the plays with Stafford lining up under center. The Lions controlled that game as the Bronco’s defense never knew what was coming. In Chicago, he called over 90% of the plays in the Shotgun set. The defense knew what was coming too often and jumped routes and destroyed the Lions offense. Last weekend Linehan called plays with Stafford lining up under the center over 50% of the time. Again, the defense looked lost and the Lions moved the ball well.

This is also why it is imperative that Stafford gets off to a quick start. If he falters, and allows the Packers to get off to an early lead of two touchdowns or more, Linehan will all too likely forget the running game and call almost all of the plays in the shotgun formation. This would be disastrous for the Lions. If Stafford plays well from the start and the Lions keep the game close, Linehan will continue to call a variety of plays and the offense will respond.

If the Lions keep it close going into the 4th quarter, the advantage could be for the Lions. The defensive line will continue to be aggressive while the Packers offensive line will grow tired. This is where the Lions will truly have their chance of causing true chaos and stopping Rodgers, giving the Lions offense a chance to take the lead.

In the NFL, the Lions with their explosive offense and their relentless pass rush, are the one team that has the best chance of beating the Packers.

Lions 34 Packers 27

1 comment:

  1. I want to say good luck, but you know better. Let's hope for a great game. It will be a war!!