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Lions vs. Packers Q&A: The bloom has come off Jim Bob Cooter’s rose

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Chris Perfett of SB Nation's Detroit Lions blog Pride of Detroit answers our questions about Detroit's improvements on defense, the offensive regression, and what he expects from Lions vs. Packers.

Green Bay Packers v Detroit Lions Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

On Monday, the Green Bay Packers return from the bye week to take on the Detroit Lions. Chris Perfett of Pride of Detroit was kind enough to answer some of our questions about the Lions and provide insight into their strengths and weaknesses.

APC: Last year, the Lions made the playoffs despite a defense ranked No. 32 in DVOA. This year, the defense has played significantly better, ranking No. 7 in the same metric entering Week 9. What changed to bring about such massive improvement?

Adding Jarrad Davis seems to be the secret sauce to making sure the linebacker unit doesn't just part like the seas. The Lions secondary has always had excellent personnel, but in general the defense feels kinda...mirage-y? That's a thing I can say, right? Like there's only so much a defense can do in a given game and I'm not sure the quality of the other 6 team above it to say I'm confident in feeling like #7.

APC: While the Lions offense caught fire last year after Jim Bob Cooter took over play-calling duties, the unit hasn't performed as efficiently in 2017. Is that simply the product of a small sample or has something held the unit back?

Offensive line play is pretty bad, but some of the blame has to lie at Jim Bob Cooter's feet. The playcalling in some scenarios is pretty atrocious. The run game must be established. Is it first down? Establish the run game, doesn't work. Is it third and long? Go ahead, try to establish the run game, it doesn't matter anymore. Nothing matters. This world will be in ashes and they'll still be trying to establish the run. I don't want to hear Tony Dungy talk about football.

APC: The Lions have lost four of their last five games, but only one of those matchups was decided by more than seven points. Is that a cause for optimism or a sign that Detroit can't put away other teams?

It's neither. The NFL is a random slot machine of stupid outcomes. It's certainly no sign of optimism but I won't deign it with a cliche about putting away teams. More to the point, it's been different elements each game that have left pain here. Against the Steelers it was an inhuman treatment of red zone offense. In the case of the Panthers, that game was dead and buried before Carolina decided to start playing prevent. The Falcons game was stupid. The Vikings game was played in mud. You didn't see it, but you could have fooled me at the end of the day. The Lions are like any mid-level team right now, suffering from a malaise of different imperfections rather than some psychological inability to finish a game. That's for Jose Valverde and the ghosts of relievers past. That's a baseball reference, Sam.

APC: If you were game planning against the Lions, how would you attack them on offense? On defense?

Okay, my stock answer here is "very carefully," but I'm also exhausted and can't think much beyond that. You can just sack Stafford. It's fine. Things will happen. This offensive line isn't very good and teams have sold the house to get Stafford, and in general it's been working like a charm.

As always, mid-range passing seems to be the area of contention for the Lions defense. They've also been pretty bad up front at pressuring the quarterback, so hope you got an offensive line?

APC: Finally, it's prediction time. Which team wins on Monday and why?

I'm gonna call this one to be a tie Jimbo.

Okay, sure. We'd like to thank Pride of Detroit for answering our questions. Be sure to check out our Q&A session over there, as well as their fantastic coverage of all things Lions. As always, keep your internet machines tuned to Acme Packing Company this Monday for our comprehensive game-day coverage of Lions vs. Packers.ris and Pride of Detroit for answering our questions. Be sure to check out our Q&A session over there, as well as their fantastic coverage of all things Lions. As always, keep your internet machines tuned to Acme Packing Company this Monday for our comprehensive game-day coverage of Lions vs. Packers.