Packers XLV

Packers Getting Healthy. Are They Healthy Enough to Beat Lions?

Posted November 27th, 2013 @ 03:11pm

OK, the truth is the 21st Thanksgiving Day meeting between the Packers and Lions is not a playoff game. It just feels like one. The Pack is trying to avoid putting up an 0 for November, but if they do they'll still be alive in the wacky North, though they'll need a little help from their friends to win another division title and a ticket to the playoffs.

Unless Mike McCarthy is channeling his ultimate inner Bill Belichick, Aaron Rodgers will miss his fifth game and use the next ten days to prepare to shake off the rust against the Falcons on December 8th. That means Matt Flynn gets to play against his favorite team. If he can put up half the numbers that he did the last time he faced them, the Pack will have a good chance to win.

Flynn becomes the fourth starting QB of the season. I mean, I know we had a really nice 20 year run, but four in a season even surpasses the Vikings. His second half performance last Sunday gives hope in a matchup that seems heavily slanted towards the Lions.

I say that because of the health of the two teams. While Detroit will likely be missing its best (and I use that term loosely) corner in Chris Houston (injured his foot on Sunday), they're otherwise in solid shape. Megatron is nursing an aching knee, but it doesn't seem to slow him down on game days. Of course, we all remember he missed the first matchup, as did the now healthy Nate Burleson, who Stafford targeted ten times on Sunday with seven completions.

This game is all about how the Packers defense handles the Lions. Flynn will be fine. The offense should hum against a Lions defense that can't stop the pass. In their last three home games they lost to the Bengals, won a crazy last second shootout with the Cowboys and let rookie Mike Glennon and the 3-8 Bucs beat them. The moment won't be too big for Flynn. He'll be fine, as long as Ndamukong Suh doesn't stomp on his head, or pull of his arm.

No, this will come down to whether the pass rush can force Mathew Stafford into a couple key mistakes. He threw four picks last week--the Bucs' secondary is upper echelon--and it's starting to get into his head. He's hearing from the doubters. When he's on, he's a top five talent and his receiving corps will be a huge challenge for the Pack. The good news is it looks like Sam Shields will be good to go, though with a hamstring and a very short week we'll be keeping an eye on him. Let's hope he's 100%.

His presence will allow the Pack to double Megatron and hopefully still have enough talent on the field to stop the other guys. Davon House will likely see a lot of Burleson, and Brandon Pettigrew provides an inviting third down target at tight end--the Pack will need to take care of him.

Johnny Jolly also appears ready to return, a huge shot in the arm for the run defense, which needs to improve dramatically if we're to take this team seriously down the stretch. They could really use Nick Perry to handle the edge in this game. That's where AP made his money last week and where Reggie Bush likes to live. If Perry plays I like the Pack's chances at slowing Bush a lot better. He was listed as limited on Tuesday. We may know more later today after practice. It's about 8:30 on Wednesday as I write this. Getting set to hit the road to Milwaukee, so today's practice could provide more insight on the injured guys. I'll add an update at the bottom if the need arises.

We can probably expect some weirdness in this one. It seems to be that way in every Thanksgiving Day game. But if they're to finally win a game without Rodgers, the Pack will need to win the turnover battle, make no special teams mistakes and play much better on defense--if Shields and Jolly are healthy they should. Pretty obvious stuff, I know. But that's what will determine this one.

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite day of the year. Let's hope the Pack can kick it off the way we're accustomed to when these teams match up (at least in the last couple of decades). Unfortunately, for me, the fourth quarter on Sunday is not enough to make me a believer. I hope they prove me wrong. Have a safe, fun Thanksgiving with your loved ones and friends.

Lions 27   Pack 24

 

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Comments (7):

Lions are scumbags? I don't disagree Josh, just not sure we should have called the out before the game. Wait until after we beat them. But i love the fire. Hope the defense gets fitted up!

on November 27th, 2013 at 09:17am

I actually agree with you on this one, Trash-eater. Why would Sitton provide bulletin-board material for the Lions? He's putting additional stress on a structure (Suh) that wasn't mentally up to code to begin with. Maybe he is trying to entice Suh into committing some cheap personal foul penalties to get him tossed from the game?

on November 27th, 2013 at 10:16am

Driving around this morning I heard a replay of Sitton's bit that he had on Milwaukee's WSSP, and it was actually quite entertaining, I have to admit. He may have gone a little too far with his comments, but it's hard to argue with what he said. It may not necessarily be "bulletin board material", simply because basically what Sitton was doing was reaffirming what the Lions' reputation is around the league - this isn't anything we weren't aware of previously, so in the big picture it doesn't matter a whole lot. But since the Lions are a very undisciplined bunch, it might serve as added incentive that may or may not result in them getting a little ticked off. So what? It's a tough game played by a bunch of tough guys. But the part I'm amazed at is that the Cane-ster provided a comment with some substance instead of his usual one-liner vacant jabs - nice going!! But he only gets partial credit because of the unnecessary "Trash-eater" bit. But since the Trashman is the kind of guy that can handle it, I'm not worried. Cane...it's OK for you to be critical; just keep it at the level you just displayed, and we'll all be better for it.

on November 27th, 2013 at 10:42am

You're welcome, Bill. Happy Thanksgiving and safe travels to you and yours tomorrow! Remember, you're twice is likely to get in a car accident on Thanksgiving (and given the fact you're traveling via short bus--you're an easy target out there for bad drivers). So don't forget you're helmet and floaties.

on November 27th, 2013 at 10:59am

A short week, a milquetoast o-line and a flailing powerpuff defense. Even Aaron Rodgers couldn't flourish in those circumstances. This game - and the month- can be flushed where they belong. Hopefully Rodgers is back for Atlanta in 10 days and the old Packers return to finish up the season on an up note.

on November 28th, 2013 at 04:33pm

The Packers are on the road, on a short week of prep and coming off a 5 quarter game on Sunday. Not to mention the guys absent, limited or hampered by injuries. The Lions have flubbed some games lately that could have put them in control of the division but we can't count on that for this one and the Pack hasn't exactly been cashing in on their chances this month either. Before we take heart in Detroit's loss to a 3-8 Tampa team let's recall the Packers couldn't beat a 2-8 Minnesota squad either. The Packers avoided Calvin Johnson last time but he'll be in the game and in his element at Ford Field today. So, too, will Reggie Bush; a different threat on indoors on turf than outside on real grass. I don't see the Packer D holding this outfit below 31 pts. The offense should move the ball all right on Detroit's shaky back 7 on defense. But they have to score touchdowns when they get in the red zone and they haven't been doing that much without Aaron Rodgers. The Pack should get at least 26-27 pts in this one to keep it interesting and respectable. But a fourth quarter big play from one of Detroit's big weapons is likely to tip this one against the Packers.

on November 28th, 2013 at 04:58am

I'm right with you Packerlifer, they will not stop bush out of the backfield, like forte on short swing passes, and don't be surprised if petigrew and burleson go off today, not calvin, they will have shields and burnett on him. I see it 38-27 lions. as THC took my line. please prove me wrong. GO pack, and HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO YOU ALL>

on November 28th, 2013 at 10:33am

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