Be nice. 2nd Fan Post. How much longer can I say that? Here's my thoughts on Thursday's game and my score prediction.
1) Past Performance Indicative of Future Results? The last time the Packers were 10-0 it was 1962 and Lombardi’s team headed to Tiger Stadium to face the Lions. The result: Starr tossed two interceptions and allowed a safety. The Packers lost 26-14. Oh yeah, and it was Thanksgiving. The good news: Packers won the NFL Championship in 1962.
2) Rough ride… Skip Bayless wanted to know how Aaron Rodgers would perform in the face of adversity. Well Skip, the Packers face a brutal schedule: three games in ten days and five of the next six games against playoff contending teams. Fortunately, the Lions only have three days rest as well. Enough adversity for you, Skip, or does Rodgers have to play with his thumb up his love-hole like Jay Cutler?
3) Depleted backfield? Both the Lions and Packers have injuries at running back. The Packers lost rookie Alex Green to a torn ACL and had a scare when James Starks limped off the field last week against Tampa Bay. Luckily, Starks practiced and should/might play on TurkeyDay. The Lions have been without explosive playmaker, Jahvid Best, due to his third concussion. Best will not play this week. Lions fans will look to 24 year old Kevin Smith as a replacement. Smith, the Lions 3rd round pick in 2008, was cut in March due to injury concerns and resigned November 7th to fill in for depth. Last week, Smith rushed 16 times for 140 yards.
4) Comeback kids? The Lions have three 17 point comebacks this season. Last week, against Carolina, the Lions overcame a 24-7 2nd quarter deficit to win 49-35. In that game, the Lions scored 21 points in the fourth quarter. On the other hand, Mike McCarthy and the Packers have been criticized for allowing lesser teams to hang on. To beat the Lions, the Aaron Rodgers and the Packers must keep the offensive gas pedal to the floor. No lead is too big.
5) Battle of the Bulge? Last season, the Packers offensive line took a beating from the Lions front four at Ford Field. Aaron Rodgers left the game with a concussion on a scramble (why didn’t he slide!?) and the Lions racked up four sacks and eight QB hits. The Lions like to play rough and tumble and have been accused of playing dirty/taunting in the trenches. The Packers OL will have to contain Ndamukong Suh and keep Aaron Rodgers healthy and mostly upright if they expect to win.
6) Containing Megatron: At 6-5, 236lbs, Calvin Johnson possesses an incredibly rare combination of size, speed, hands and toughness (think of Randy Moss and Jermichael Finley having a baby and then it being adopted by intelligent, quieter and more humble parents). Opposing defenses cannot stop Megatron, and can only pray to contain him (at the bottom of the ocean). The Panthers did a solid job of providing their corners safety help over the top and keeping Johnson out of the endzone, but then got burned underneath by the Lions’ talented TEs, slot receivers and RBs. How will Dom Capers handle Megatron?
7) Turf=NikeDestroyers: The Green Bay Packers may like playing at Lambeau, but their high powered offense loves playing on turf. Aaron Rodgers will don his favorite shoes, the Nike Destroyers, and Jordy Nelson, Greg Jennings, and the crew will flash their blinding speed. High scoring affair likely.
8 ) Wrestling a psychotic, bipolar Lion? The Lions beat Tampa Bay by seven, crushed the Chiefs and Broncos, barely beat Minnesota, and then lost to Atlanta, Chicago and San Francisco. Coach Jim Schwartz leads with an emotional chip on his shoulder and as a result, his players go through violent mood swings. The Lions are capable of huge let downs and monster comebacks, living and dying by the big play. This inconsistency means that Detroit won’t succeed deep in the playoffs, but are dangerous on any given Sunday. Take a look at the stats: the Lions score 30.1 points per game (3rd in NFL), but convert just 29% of third downs (31st in NFL). On the other hand, the Packers score 35.5 points per game (1st) and convert 51.2% of third downs (2nd). The key to victory: limit big plays and make it to third down.
9) Battle of the QBs. The big difference between Matt Stafford and Aaron Rodgers? Not arm strength, mobility, accuracy or surrounding cast. COMPOSURE. At times it seems Mr. Rodgers has ice in his veins and it shows in his performance. #12 has yet to throw multiple interceptions in a single game this season and only has a total of four INTs all year. And it’s not as if the Packers OL is giving him all day to throw; Green Bay has allowed 25 sacks! Stafford has tossed 10 INTs this season, highlighted by a four INT performance versus Chicago. Stafford, like his coach, wears frustration on his sleeve. Last time Stafford played the Packers, he coughed up four picks. In a high scoring affair, this bodes well for the Packers ball hawking defense. Turnovers will decide this matchup.
10) 16-0 Watch and the playoffs? If the Packers can win at Ford Field, and the 49ers continue to keep the pressure on, Green Bay’s chances of 16-0 will improve to 32.36%. See the math on my blog. Link below. More importantly, the Packers clinch a playoff spot with:
A win, Dallas loss/tie and Atlanta loss
A win, Dallas loss/tie and New Orleans loss
A win, Giants loss/tie and Atlanta loss
Clearly, the Packers should just win.
Enough already, who wins? High scoring, yes, but the Packers defense will surprise the nation and hold the Lions under 30 points because of clutch turnovers. Stafford will throw 3-4 INTs. Aaron Rodgers will recover from an “off” performance, aided by more solid OL play.
Green Bay 42, Detroit 27
Originally posted at http://www.packerinsanity.com