The Packers hit the middle stretch of the great NFC North tour on Sunday by hosting the Detroit Lions on Sunday Night Football. This should be an interesting matchup for the Packers who are still pretty beaten up and missing key starters. The means it’s another week of watching the back ups and hoping they can raise their game play to the situation. If the Packers can pull out a victory on Sunday then they will be in prime position wrap up the division next week in Chicago. If the Packers lose then they are still in good shape, but next week’s game becomes a must win.
Here are five players that will be important to a Packers victory:
RB Ryan Grant – It looks like Ryan Grant is ready to go for Sunday. Seeing him back almost makes me regret not buying more Ryan Grant merchandise on extra clearance the past couple months…..almost. In all seriousness though, Grant should provide some veteran leadership to Alex Green and more importantly provide a reliable RB option to let Green split carries with. So far it seems as though Green thrives when he does share the reps with another back and Grant is probably the best option the Packers have at this point.
LG Evan Dietrich-Smith – EDS has not done well since taking on the starter’s role after the bye. In the three games since then he was absolutely owned by Nick Fairley, beaten by Chris Canty, and struggled against Kevin Williams. An optimist may say that his play has slightly improved, but the bottom line is that he has not done his job well and the middle of the line is a weak spot for the Packers as a result. The bad news is that the Packers need him to face off against Fairley again which may not end well for EDS or Aaron Rodgers.
CB Tramon Williams – Williams will draw the most important match up of all this weekend, Calvin Johnson. Williams has had good days against Johnson and bad days. In the previous meeting this year it was so-so. Johnson did have a TD catch and a good amount of yards, but Williams generally cut off the big play when facing Megatron. Since then the Lions have lost both of remaining legitimate threats on the outside to pair with Johnson so Williams should get plenty of help.
OLB Dezman Moses – The Packers can’t count on OLB Erik Walden to provide any pass rush and so it has to come down to Moses to supply something on Sunday. It’s a tall order, but one that Moses should be able to deliver on. If the Packers can get any sort of pressure on Stafford then the defense should be able to hold off a potent Lions offense.
WR Greg Jennings – Last week showed what an important impact Jennings can bring to the Packers offense. This week that needs to continue with Jordy Nelson out and troubles brewing along the offensive line. The Packers are going to need the circus catches and tight route running that Jennings brings to the table.