The Green Bay Packers wrapped up the 1-seed last weekend but the regular season isn’t over.
What’s left to do? Not much. The Green Bay Packers just need to beat the lowly Lions in their first-ever Week-18 matchup. The Packers can accomplish that with their first or second-team performers.
There’s a question of who we will and will not see but Matt LaFleur was vocal about playing healthy players. That may or may not include David Bakhtiari, Jaire Alexander, Josh Myers, and the other 22 starters.
Whatever MLF chooses to do, I’m behind it
This is a game that the Green Bay Packers can have fun with, though I feel LaFleur will treat it as a typical business trip. The Packers will still draw up a gameplan for this one. These are the areas they should focus on.
Packers’ Edge Rushers vs Lions Offensive Tackles
Penei Sewell has been everything the Lions hoped for as the #7 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft. He’s improved with every rep and is already one of the top run-blockers in the league.
Since Taylor Decker has returned from injury, the Lions have had a pair of high-performing first-round talents as their bookends. Decker and Sewell have combined to allow just 20 pressures and 3 sacks in the 8 weeks that Decker has been active.
Meanwhile, the Green Bay Packers’ edge rushers have recorded the highest pressure rate for the position in the NFL and that’s without Za’Darius Smith. Rashan Gary and Preston Smith have been dominant this season.
"Everyone knows the standard on this defense, everybody knows the standard of the Green Bay #Packers so we're just trying to keep that up & keep it going." 😤
— Green Bay Packers (@packers) January 6, 2022
Rashan Gary specifically has been absolutely electric. He’s grown into one of the top pass rushers in the NFL. He has the third-highest Win % of all qualifying edge rushers (PFF) and is tied for the second-most pressures at the position.
The Green Bay Packers generated a ton of pressure the last time these two teams met. But Decker wasn’t active and it wasn’t only Sewell’s second NFL game, not to mention, the defense only recorded one sack on Jared Goff.
It Helps that Frank Ragnow is one of the top Centers in the league. He can help maintain Kenny Clark, though that’s proven to be an exercise in futility. KC’s pass rush ability will go a long way in assisting his edge rushers – as it has all year.
Detroit’s offensive line is likely hoping for a repeat of their Week 2 performance but the Green Bay Packers are looking to get some more hits on whoever the QB is this time around. If Gary and Smith can get home, it will have a huge impact on the Lions’ passing game.
Who’s Covering Davante?
Short answer… nobody.
It’s just becoming normal for Davante to have 10+ catches, 100+ yards & a score or two now each week. On his way to becoming a hall of famer before our eyes.
— GBP Daily (@GBPdaily) January 5, 2022
This Lions’ defense doesn’t have a defensive back that can limit, let alone contain Davante Adams. He’s the top receiver in the league. He’ll rip it up unless the Lions adjust.
Amani Oruwariye, Ifeatu Melifonwu, and Jerry Jacobs have contributed the most reps at outside corner for the Lions recently. Adams will create separation against all of them individually. If the Lions double and triple Adams – as the Ravens did – it would open things up for the other receiving threats.
Allen Lazard has looked great recently. He’s been an important redzone threat, catching a TD in each of the last two games, and Rodgers’ 443rd passing TD. But Marcedes Lewis and Marquez Valdes-Scantling should be back to full strength this week.
MVS, specifically, will be a welcomed addition. He’s the top – maybe only – deep threat for the Packers. There is no replacement for his length, route-running, and long speed.
With nothing to lose – or gain, expect the first team to come out and toss it around on Sunday.
Everybody liked this guy leading up to the 2021 Draft. A good portion of Packer fandom wanted a reunion with his older brother, Eqanemious, and they were not wrong for wanting that. Amon-Ra has been a godsend for the Lions’ offense.
amon-ra st. brown was the 17th receiver taken in the 2021 draft. among rookies he ranks:
•PFF grade: 5thpic.twitter.com/lNtN3TW8qy
— Tej Seth (@tejfbanalytics) December 31, 2021
He’s not only been the do-it-all weapon that every offense covets but he’s also been the Lions’ top receiving threat. Over the last two weeks, he’s gone for 244 all-purpose yards and 3 TDs. If he was on your fantasy team, you’re well aware of his production.
How do you shut him down?
Well… you really don’t have to. You can let him benefit from the fact that the Lions don’t have any other weapons. That’s what Amon-Ra has been doing and it hasn’t led to much success for the Lions’ offense. With TJ Hockenson and DeAndre Swift both inactive, the Lions don’t have a choice but to feed their only weapon.
Even if Amon-Ra shines in the box score, I wouldn’t be concerned about it actually impacting the game.
There’s nothing to gain and nothing to lose this week. I hope the Packers cover the 3.5 spread in DET and I’m gonna put money on it. They should cover, even with Jordan Love playing more snaps than Rodgers.
And if they don’t, who gives a damn. The Packers already have it in the bag. Cheers!