The Detroit Lions host the Green Bay Packers at Ford Field today. Read as the Lion Lowdown writers offer their predictions for this week’s game.
The season for the Detroit Lions will come to an abrupt end no matter what the outcome of the game looks like. Meanwhile, the outcome of the game is not likely to end well for the Lions as they will open as 13-point underdogs against their division rival Green Bay Packers.
Bruce Walker (@smoke25):
The atmosphere leading up to this game cannot be any different than it was for their first meeting where both teams were thought to have a legitimate shot for the division crown.
The way the penalties were called in that game may or may not have affected the team going forward but it certainly affected the fan base. I’m not convinced that there were not some lingering effects with the players. They were certainly vocal in expressing their frustration during post-game interviews.
Does that mean this lost season for the Lions is a result of that game? No. Not at all. Not in the least.
Injuries aside, the problem for the Lions throughout the season has been consistent. It has always been their inability to field a defense that did not rank in the bottom of the NFL, especially against the pass.
Often, they were reasonably solid in the first half but invariably they would weaken as the game progressed. By the end of the game, they couldn’t stop the opponent from scoring. Every game.
Fortunately, Matthew Stafford was available to keep Detroit in those games, which allowed them to win a few—and tie one. That is, until he wasn’t.
The Lions have not won a game since.
Their defense has improved incrementally over the past few weeks. They are no longer averaging over 400 yards given up per game but rank 29th in that category, about where they have been for weeks.
The Lions pass defense is solidly the worst in the NFL. Their run defense has climbed up from the bottom to 21st as the season has progressed. On the other hand, with opposing quarterbacks having so much success against the pass, their opponents rushing attempts per game rank 27th, meaning that perhaps they are not even trying to run as much.
Either way, it does not matter. It didn’t matter what third-string rookie quarterback suited up against the Lions defense this year, they had a stellar game.
But the Lions opponent today is no third-string rookie. Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers have already clinched the division crown at 12-3. They also have their eye on a first-round bye. That is less likely to happen with a Packer loss today so expect Green Bay to play to win.
Detroit Lions 17 — Green Bay Packers 35
James Gullett (@gullet_James):
Green bay comes to Detroit for the final regular season game of the year for the Packers and the final game of the season for the Lions. The Packers actually have quite a bit on the line as well in terms of playoff seeding.
A week 17 win over Green Bay last year cost the Lions a great pass rusher in Josh Allen who is having a very good rookie year. If the Lions somehow pull out this meaningless win today, it could cost them Chase Young who could be a staple in any defense for the next 10-12 years.
With that being said, the Lions have about half their team on injured reserve and Green Bay wants to play for a first-round bye in the postseason. I believe the Packers will walk away with the win on Sunday and although it’s never easy to take a loss to the Packers, it could be better for the Lions long term.
Detroit Lions 17 — Green Bay Packers 31
Logan Lamorandier (@LLamorandier):
It’s hard to believe it’s already the final week of the NFL regular season — and yet the Lions only have three wins.
With an unbelievable number of players on injured reserve, the Lions appear like a team playing in the preseason.
Meanwhile, the Packers are fighting for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Green Bay has the better roster and more to play for this week.
Detroit Lions 16 — Green Bay Packers 30Follow here: