The Detroit Lions (5-10) travel to Lambeau Field to take on the Green Bay Packers (6-8-1) in their final game of the 2018 season. Temperature at kickoff should be close to 30°, not the bitter cold that the game has seen in some years. Despite the fact that the Packers fired their head coach, Mike McCarthy, a couple weeks ago, they are still favored by a touchdown or more. Both teams are eliminated from playoff contention.
Bruce Walker (@smoke25):
Looking back, the season has certainly been much more different—and disappointing—than anticipated for most Lions fans. Some things that we looked forward to, like an improved run game and an improved defense have actually happened but unfortunately, were more than offset by struggles on the offensive side of the ball. In fact, the team will have to score 28 points today in order to keep from having the worst total points scored since 2009, Matthew Stafford’s rookie season.
Offensively, Green Bay outranks the Lions in every major category. The opposite is true on defense, where Detroit has the edge almost everywhere. The only noteworthy advantage that I saw for the Packers was in sacks where they are ranked sixth in the NFL on the season with 43 while Detroit is tied for 11th with 40. Both teams have shown the ability to pressure opposing quarterbacks, but I do not expect this particular stat to be the difference in this game.
Both teams will undergo major overhauls, beginning after the game. Green Bay has to find a new head coach, even if that person is their current interim head coach, Joe Philbin.
The Lions are widely expected to replace Jim Bob Cooter, their offensive coordinator shortly after this season ends. In addition, this will be Patricia’s first full off-season as head coach. Last year, he wasn’t hired until after the Super Bowl. It wouldn’t be surprising if there are a number of staff changes that are made this off-season because desirable personnel were already committed by the time he had an opportunity to address various areas last year.
Meanwhile, back to the game. With nothing to play for except the pride of beating a division opponent, the Lions are in trouble on this one. Norm Van Brocklin holds the NFL single-game passing record with 554 yards. Iron Man Stafford will need to pass for 746 yards in order to avoid having the worst passing total for full season of his career. I’m going out on a limb and predicting that Van Brocklin’s record stays safe this week.
The Lions will play hard, but it wouldn’t be enough. The season will end with a Lions loss.
Detroit Lions 17 — Green Bay Packers 27
James Gullett (@gullett_james):
I have never seen a team with as many injuries as the Lions have this week. The Lions are forced to start their 5th receiver, their 5th corner, a guard at fullback, their best two D-linemen are out, and their best O-lineman is out.
On top of all that, Stafford is not having his best year. Is that is because his weapons are gone or just simply has regressed? He needs to improve and bring a better game to 2019, yet alone today.
I do not expect even an average showing from the Lions in this week’s game due to all the reasons above. The also Lions might be playing coy and trying to tank. Shutting down Agnew after only back one game and a litany of other “injuries” make me think the Lions are looking more at their 2019 season now. The coaches won’t admit to it, and the players who are playing won’t either. The group on the field will play to win, but given all the conservative calls on the injury front makes me believe winning this year isn’t the main priority.
Green Bay wants to avoid the sweep and will be trying to win at home to end the season.
Detroit Lions 10 — Green Bay Packers 17
Logan Lamorandier (@LLamorandier):
It’s the last week of the NFL regular season and both teams are not playing for much. Yes, every game is a resume builder for the players who are trying to secure a new contract, but it terms of the postseason, it holds no impact.
With all the Lions players who are out due to injury, they are going to put out a roster that would almost be unrecognizable at the beginning of the season.
The Packers on the other hand, are playing at home and have a interim head coach fighting for a future job opportunity.
This game will come down to who wants it more and I feel the Packers have more to play for. I’ll go Packers.
Detroit Lions 13 — Green Bay Packers 24