Preview: Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers

It's time to put the memories of 17 penalties and horrific special teams behind us, and look ahead to next Sunday. And to help with the transition, the winless Detroit Lions come limping into town. And they are literally limping as they could be without as many as four starters on Sunday, and had six players who did not participate in practice on Thursday.

Here are the official stats from NFL.com:

Team  Run Offense Pass Offense  Run Defense Pass Defense
Packers 22 11 18 3
Team Run Defense Pass Defense Run Offense  Pass Offense
   Lions   32 26 31 12

The Lions came into Lambeau last October and were shut out 26 - 0. However when they were looking to avoid a 0-16 season in 2008, they managed to hang around and only lost 31-21. And they've kept it close in all three games this season. The oddsmakers are not predicting a close one, with the Packers favored by 14 to 16 depending on the odds you're looking at. Packers 27, Lions 7. 

The complete analysis after the jump.

Packers run offense vs. Lions run defense. While the official stats are low, they're feeling the love of the stat heads over at Football Outsiders that have them ranked No. 4 overall. The run game isn't flashy, with no run of more than 18 yards this season, but they always get positive yards and they've converted a 1st down on over 20% of their carries. However the Lions run defense really is that bad (allowing 5 yards/carry) and been run over by RB LeSean McCoy and RB Adrian Peterson in consecutive weeks.

Packers pass offense vs. Lions pass defense. The Lions brought in two starting cornerbacks (CB Chris Houston and CB Johnathan Wade) this season that were castoffs from the Falcons and Rams, and their low ranking is after three weeks is hardly unsurprising. They were lit up pretty good by QB Jay Cutler and QB Michael Vick, but QB Brett Favre's awful game against them last week is pretty indicative of how hard the Vikings have fallen so far this season. The only thing that could hold QB Aaron Rodgers back is if they decide to give 30+ carries to their running backs.

Lions run offense vs. Packers run defense. The Lions haven't gotten it done on the ground (averaging 3.0 yards/carry) in the first three games, and now star rookie RB Jahvid Best has a bad toe. The Packers are allowing over 5 yards/carry too), mostly because QB Michael Vick ran wild in week 1. RB Kevin Smith might get the start in place of Best and backup RB Aaron Brown (who's also battling an injury).

Lions pass offense vs. Packers pass defense. CB Charles Woodson is going to try and take away their best receiver (WR Calvin Johnson) but TEs Brandon Pettigrew and Tony Scheffler have done some damage this season too. Another injury here too as their top free agent pickup (WR Nate Burleson) is probably out. QB Shaun Hill has already been named as the starter this week in place of QB Matthew Stafford. While Hill had an almost game winning TD deep pass against the Bears in week 1, he's really more of a short yardage guy. I'm expecting him to play like QB Trent Edwards with a slightly better supporting cast. If they can't test the Packers secondary deep, then they'll be lucky to gain even 200 yards and throw less than 2 INTs. 

Special teams and penalites. After they were almost at the top of the rankings last week, unsurprisingly the Football Outsiders have dragged them back down again. They just simply couldn't be as bad next Sunday as they were on Monday night, though they are still a bottom ten unit until P Tim Masthay starts doing a better job of kicking deep and pinning the returner on the sidelines. Luckily Detroit's special teams are an average unit and it's unlikely they can take advantage here.

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