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Lions vs. Packers Preview: 5 Things to Watch For

The Packers are back from their bye and face the Detroit Lions at Lambeau this Sunday. It should be a tough, hard fought game, so hide your headsets.

Jonathan Daniel

Well, that was horrible wasn't it? Just as I was getting used to being completely unproductive and generally doing my best Jabba the Hutt impression on Sundays, the Packers get a bye in Week 4. That's just cruel, NFL. Fortunately, the Packers resume their schedule this week so we can all get back to enjoying the fall season the way it was meant to be - on the couch. This week brings division rivals the Detroit Lions into town. With a 3-1 record, this promises to be a tough matchup that answers plenty of questions for the Packers. How will they match up against a strong front four? Who will stop Reggie Bush? And which player will get kicked in the junk by Ndamukong Suh? Here's a few other things to watch for:

Franklin & Bash

Aside from the whole coughing-up-the-game thing, Jonathan Franklin may have been the biggest silver lining in the Packers loss to the Bengals. Franklin looked patient and seemed to be perfectly comfortable in the Packers zone-blocking scheme. Oh, and he looked fast. Really fast. If his performance was a sign of things to come, combining Franklin with Eddie Lacy could give the Packers the kind of 1-2 punch they haven't had at running back in nearly a decade. And from the sound of it, Lacy should be ready to roll on Sunday, giving us our first glimpse at what the offense could look like with both rookies getting carries.

Detroit's new-look offense

The Lions offense took a bit of a hit last week when Nate Burleson, while driving home, jumped on a falling pizza like a loose ball, leading to a car wreck that left the team's leading receiver with a broken arm. I know what you're thinking: "that poor pizza." But even without Burleson, Detroit's offense has looked downright scary. They're one of only six teams averaging 400+ yards of offense per game and their dedication to keeping Matthew Stafford upright has led to him being sacked just 1.9 percent of his drop backs - the lowest in the league. Along with bruiser Joique Bell, superweapon Reggie Bush, and the ever-present threat of Calvin Johnson, the Packers' defense might face their toughest test yet.

Finley's return

You'd understand if Jermichael Finley would be a bit hesitant after nearly getting decapitated two weeks ago versus the Bengals. But that's the thing about Finley. For all the crap he's taken about being selfish or immature or distracting, there's one thing that no one can call him - afraid. He constantly goes over the middle without fear, catches balls in traffic and so far this season, has been even tougher to take down than usual. The Packers will need more of the same this Sunday. The Lions secondary can be had, but hard-hitting safeties Glover Quin and Louis Delmas are two of their better defenders. And with a front four that could limit the time Rodgers has to throw, Finley's work in attacking the seams will be even more critical to the Packers' success.

Post-bye week adjustments

While the bye week kind of sucks for us fans, it's a great time for the team. The players can get rested and healthy and start mentally preparing themselves for the rest of the season. The coaches meanwhile, have a whole extra week to lock themselves up in a dark room for hours at a time studying game film and analyzing team strengths and weaknesses. Or they're just playing Grand Theft Auto V. Either way, the extra time should allow Mike McCarthy - who's been one of the better week-to-week coaches despite his on-the-fly questionability - to make adjustments based on how the team's performed so far, and potentially even implement a few new wrinkles for later in the season. The Lions will certainly put McCarthy's planning to the test, but it's worth mentioning - he's 6-1 following byes since coming to Green Bay.

Protecting Aaron Rodgers

Defensive tackle and professional taekwondo artist, Ndamukong Suh gets most of the pub, but make no mistake, the Lions front line is as good as they come. Fellow first rounder Nick Fairley can also wreak havoc and rookie Ziggy Ansah is off to a solid start and even drew comparisons to Jason Pierre-Paul before the draft. If that wasn't enough, the Lions are coached by Jim Schwartz who really, is just a shorter, less meathead-y version of Greg Schiano. With Schwartz, it's all about "attitude" or playing "with an edge" which, is basically another way of saying that if Vegas sets the over/under for personal fouls at 1.5, take the over and bet your life savings. Seriously, the city of Detroit was more disciplined with its finances than the Lions are on defense. Because of that, it'll make the offensive line's responsibility in protecting Rodgers that much more important.

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