NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero broke the news on some key injury updates today that should impact the result of the Green Bay Packers-Detroit Lions matchup on Thursday Night Football. The spread on the game is currently a two-point line in favor of the Lions on DraftKings, which should give you a feel for how razor-thin the margins are in this one.
According to Pelissero, Lions running back David Montgomery (thigh) will be the lead back for Detroit after officially being listed as questionable yesterday. He later added that left tackle Taylor Decker (ankle) will be suiting up for the game and that cornerback Emmanuel Moseley (knee/hamstring) will be held out of action. That leaves just two players, left guard Jonah Jackson (though) and safety Kerby Joseph (hip), as the only “questionable” players with unknown statuses heading into the game for the Lions.
Overall, that seems like a positive break for Detroit, as their backfield and offensive line were the biggest question marks on the injury report. Decker’s potential injury replacement, Matt Nelson (ankle), and the team’s starting right guard, Halapoulivaati Vaitai (knee), were already ruled out of the game, so getting Decker, Montgomery and possibly Jackson in this one is a positive swing for the Lions. That could be one reason why the spread has risen a half-point in their favor today.
On the Packers’ side of the injury report, Pelissero stated that running back Aaron Jones (hamstring) should get close to his normal share of snaps today — as he already splits the backfield with AJ Dillon. Previously, Jones was listed as questionable by Green Bay. The Pro Bowl running back hasn’t played a snap for the team since pulling his hamstring on his catch-and-run touchdown in Week 1 against the Bears.
Receiver Christian Watson (hamstring) is apparently also expected to play in this game, which will mark his 2023 debut. Per Pelissero, Watson will be on a pitch count. It will be interesting to see how the wide-out is used, as his best trait is his deep speed. Do you want Watson running long routes with a recovering hamstring? We’re going to see how Green Bay’s coaching staff feels about that question.
The bad news for Packers fans is that Pelissero stated that cornerback Jaire Alexander (back) is trending toward missing this game. If Alexander can’t suit up, the next man up would be Carrington Valentine, who is listed as questionable by the team for a biceps injury. If neither Valentine nor Alexander can go, the likely starter would be Corey Ballentine — who is currently on the practice squad.
If you’re looking for some “keys to victory” for the Packers, following this injury update, here’s what I have for you:
The Lions’ outside cornerbacks are not very talented and they’ll, apparently, be down Moseley there. With the addition of Watson to the receiver rotation, the Packers should be able to take advantage of the perimeter. After struggling to produce against some talented cornerbacks against the Saints last week, expect Green Bay’s pass-catchers to have a bounceback week — if they do end up winning this ball game.
Against this less than 100 percent offensive line, the Packers need to win one-on-one pass-rushing opportunities. Lions quarterback Jared Goff’s entire career has followed the narrative that he’s been great from a clean pocket and terrible when under pressure. With Rashan Gary and Kenny Clark playing at Pro Bowl levels this season, look for them to take advantage of Vaitai and potentially Jackson’s replacements at guard. We’ll see what Decker has in the tank, too, after being listed as questionable on Wednesday.