Good teams win the games following bye weeks. While the Packers' 22-9 victory over the Lions would hardly be called impressive, it was a needed win over a quality opponent.
It certainly didn't hurt that Calvin Johnson missed the game with nagging knee injury. Without their top receiver, the Lions were forced to over-rely on Reggie Bush, causing their production to falter. Quarterback Matthew Stafford struggled with his diminished receiving corps throughout the game.
The Packers received a boost from tailback Eddie Lacy. After missing most of the last two games with a concussion, Lacy re-established himself as Green Bay's lead back with an impressive 23 carry, 99 yard performance, good for a 4.3 clip. The Packers probably should have ran Lacy more on third and short situations, but the strength of this showing could change things in the weeks to come.
The difference in the game was the improved play from the Packers' much-maligned defense. Despite a multitude of injuries to linebackers, Green Bay held Bush to 69 total yards and created a constant pass rush with Mike Neal and Nick Perry each recorded their first sacks of the season. For a unit that had allowed the 27th most points per game heading into the day, Sunday's game perhaps demonstrated that it was the absence of Morgan Burnett and Casey Hayward that was responsible for the defenses' problems rather than schematic issues.
However, the win doesn't cover up Green Bay's ongoing hamstring concerns. With Brad Jones the latest Packer to go down with the ailment, the season total for hamstring pulls is on the verge of double digits. Not every injury is the fault of conditioning, but the preponderance of instances with this particular injury can no longer be chalked up to mere coincidence.
Overall though, it was a good day for Green Bay. Wins over divisional foes always matter when it comes to postseason consideration, and the Lions are going to remain in the hunt all year. With their record now 2-2, the Packers turn their attention to next week's game on the road against the Baltimore Ravens.
Jason Hirschhorn covers the Green Bay Packers for Acme Packing Co. He has previously written for Lombardi Ave, College Hoops Net, LiveBall Sports, and the List Universe. He is also currently a senior writer for Beats Per Minute, an indie-music webzine. Follow him on Twitter: @JBHirschhorn