The Detroit Lions Are A Bad Match-Up For The Green Bay Packers

This pains me to say. I hate to say it. I hate to say anything good about them. They are my hated rival and I go to school with a bunch of their fans and they annoy the crap out of me. Yet I'm objective. The Green Bay Packers are a really good football team. In fact they are probably going to repeat as Superbowl champs.

OK, now that that is out of the way, let me tell you why they are not going to be undefeated.

This Thanksgiving (in four days as of the writing of this post) they face the new-and-improved Detroit Lions IN Detroit. As good as the Packers look and as good as they Packers have been, they face their toughest game of the year against the Lions.

There are two ways to defeat Aaron Rodgers. The first is match Rodgers in scoring. Aaron Rodgers is going to put up points but if you have the ball last and end up scoring on the final drive of the game, you can defeat the Packers. During the 2009-10 playoffs in the Wild Card Round, Kurt Warner and the Arizona Cardinals was able to defeat Aaron Rodgers- by putting up 51 points. In overtime. Kurt Warner had to throw five touchdown passes just to defeat Rodgers and the Packers 51-45.

The second way to defeat Aaron Rodgers is to not allow him to throw. This is no easy feat. Rodgers has a plethora of targets who are speedy route runners and Rodgers is extremely mobile and accurate and releases the ball very quickly. However, the last team to shut down Aaron Rodgers- the Detroit Lions.

In Week 14 of the 2010 season, the 6-10 Lions (2-10 before the start of the game) was able to beat the Packers by a score of 7-3. Aaron Rodgers' numbers in the game: 7 for 11, 46 passing yards, 0 TDs, 1 INT. I've heard people have the audacity to say "Well, Aaron Rodgers had to leave the game so of course the Lions were able to win." B.S. First, the Lions suffocated every play Rodgers was in on. Second, Rodgers played all of the first quarter and 95% of the second- and still only allowed him to score three points.

(QUICK NOTE: It is not a good idea to stop Rodgers' receivers. He has too many guys to throw to and if you give Rodgers time, he will make plays, get first downs, and eventually score)

Unfortunately for the Green Bay Packers, the Detroit Lions can do both. Their amazing defensive line that stopped the Packers last year has been improved by the addition of rookie Nick Fairley and their overall defense is better than it was last year. This defense line is amazing at pass blocking and are athletic enough to get to Rodgers.

Plus, the Lions have something they did not have last year: Matthew Stafford. Just watching the few games Stafford has played in before 2011, you knew the talent and skills were there it was just that he couldn't stay healthy. Now that Stafford has started all 10 games this season, he has proven how good he is. Further, Green Bay ranks 31st in passing yards given up per game and 24th in YPA allowed.

Now the best way to defeat the Lions is to run on them. Detroit currently ranks 5th in passing yards allowed per game but only 28th in rushing yards allowed. Good for the Lions because the Packers do not really run the ball (Green Bay ranks 17th in rushing attempts) and they're not very good at it (they rank 24th in YPA).

It is true that Stafford and the Lions have shown vulnerability (see: their loses to Chicago and San Francisco) and they too have an extremely one dimensional offense and a one dimensional defense. However, the dimensions the Lions are good at are the reasons that they are a bad match up for the Green Bay Packers.