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Packers dominated field position battle against Lions

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Green Bay’s offense was put in some comfortable spots by the defense and special teams on Sunday, which helped get them back on track.

NFL: Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers Milwaukee Journal Sentinel-USA TODAY Sports

On Sunday, the Green Bay Packers thoroughly crushed the Detroit Lions in one particular area: field position. That game-within-the-game is something that head Mike McCarthy has been vocal about, and it was finally an area of the game that worked out in Green Bay’s favor. The special teams and defense both helped out in the first quarter - an alert play by Ty Montgomery on a kickoff resulted in a kickoff out of bounds penalty and Damarious Randall made a great interception, and both of these plays gave the Packers short fields that led to scores.

In fact, the Packers never once started closer to their own goal line than their own 25-yard line (the new touchback spot). Here are the locations on the field where each of the Packers’ offensive drives began and how they got the ball:

  • Packers’ 25 (opening kickoff)
  • Packers’ 40 (kickoff out of bounds - thanks, Ty!)
  • Packers’ 33 (punt)
  • Lions’ 25 (interception)
  • Packers’ 33 (missed field goal)
  • Packers’ 25 (kickoff)
  • Packers’ 25 (kickoff)
  • Packers’ 28 (kickoff)
  • Packers’ 26 (punt)
  • Packers’ 25 (kickoff)

That’s an average yardage of the Packers’ 34-yard line on field position. Compare that to the team’s average start against Jacksonville (own 24, 2 drives inside own 5) or Minnesota (own 20, 4 drives inside own 10) and you can see that the offense was put in much better positions to start each of their drives.

Meanwhile, the Lions started exactly one drive outside their own 25 - their final series began at their own 38 after a Packers punt. In addition, they began inside their own 20 three times on the day following two kickoffs and a punt, and averaged their own 22.

Although the offense’s improvement was critical, field position was likely one of the big reasons why the Packers were able to maintain their lead throughout the second half and hold on for a 34-27 victory on Sunday.