5 Key Matchups Green Bay Packers Must Win Week 5 vs. Detroit Lions
5 Key Matchups Packers Must Win Week 5 vs. Lions
The Green Bay Packers have a matchup with their divisional rival Detroit Lions this week. It is a game that the Packers need to win in order to get back on track and forget two tough losses in the previous three weeks.
The Packers will be coming off the bye week and will be much more healthy than they were last week. If history can repeat itself, the Packers have a good chance of winning. Since Mike McCarthy took over, the team is 6-1/*.
Along with their success following the bye week, the Packers have had good success against the Lions under McCarthy. During his time as coach, the Packers have owned the series. McCarthy has an overall record of 13-1 against the Lions. He will surely look forward to playing the Lions and certainly will hope that history repeats itself once again.
However, this is a different Lions team this year. The most obvious change is the addition of Reggie Bush. His acquisition has improved the offense and has made them even more lethal. Bush adds a run game the Lions dearly needed. Along with his running abilities, Bush also adds a threat in the pass game that makes the Lions offense very difficult to defend.
Bush will be a tough matchup for the Packers, but I do not believe his matchup will be one of the major keys. Here are the 5 key matchups I think the Packers must win in order to take down the Lions this week.
5. Eddie Lacy vs. Detroit Front Four
Rookie running back Eddie Lacy is a “full go” according to McCarthy and he will need to be at his best this week. Lacy is coming off a concussion he suffered in Week 2 against the Washington Redskins. The injury sidelined him the entire game and Week 3 as well. In all, he’s had a full three weeks to rest and recover.
Lacy has shown he can be a solid back for the Packers. He has shown signs of strong, physical play against the San Francisco 49ers and proved he can overcome adversity as well.
The Lions are known for having a very tough front four and at times are hard to run on. However, this season, they have struggled through four weeks. The Lions rank 20th in the NFL in rushing yards allowed at 110.00 yards per game. This is not a stat Lions fans are used to seeing. They have shown they can be exposed on the ground and have had a rough time thus far this season.
Lacy needs to regain his form and become the back the Packers knew they had when they drafted him this year. Look for Lacy to get a ton of touches to get back into the swing of the offense and expect a more balanced look for the Packers offense this week.
4. Clay Matthews vs. Detroit O-Line
Packers linebacker Clay Matthews is known by many people in the league as the “Claymaker.” So far this season, Matthews has two sacks and is seeing a lot of double and triple team looks from opposing offensive lines.
Parts of Matthews’ struggles have been because rookie Datone Jones has been injured and not as productive early on. Along with Jones, second year man Nick Perry is trying to rebound from a season ending knee injury last season and get back to his old ways.
Regardless to as why Matthews hasn’t been his normal self, he must step up and win his matchups on Sunday. He will certainly have his work cut out for him. So far this season, the Lions rank No. 1 in the league in protecting the quarterback. The offensive line for the Lions has only allowed three sacks in four games, which shows growth in their line from last year.
Look for Matthews to be extra aggressive this week and try to create havoc for Matthew Stafford. Matthews will need to bring his A+ game to the table so the defense can get opportunities for turnovers and get off the field.
3. TJ Lang vs. Ndamukong Suh
Prior to the Lions game against the Chicago Bears last week, outspoken defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh said he was going to “digest” offensive lineman Kyle Long and anyone else on the Bears who tries to block him. Suh certainly wasn’t just talking. His game backed his talk.
Suh played very beast-like once again and it caused Long to say after the game, “That’s a grown man I played against today.”
Long’s quote is a common thing for many linemen who take on Suh. This week, Packers left tackle TJ Lang will have to face Suh.
In his career vs. the Packers, Suh has struggled and his frustration has gotten the best of him. Most notably, Suh was ejected in 2011 for stomping on lineman Evan-Dietrich Smith while he was on the ground.
The Packers have allowed 10 sacks this year, and they must be able to match the physical play of the Lions if they plan to keep Aaron Rodgers upright. Expect Lang to be a pivotal player on the offensive line this week and you should see him matched up with Suh throughout the entire game.
2. Jordy Nelson vs. Chris Houston
One of the more interesting matchups of this Sunday’s game is the one that will take place between Packers receiver Jordy Nelson and Lions defensive back Chris Houston.
Houston is one of the Lions' best corners so expect him to be matched up with the Packers' best receiver.
So far this season, Nelson has had plenty of success against whomever he is up against. He has 289 yards and three touchdowns and has been one of Rodgers' most dependable receivers for the last few seasons.
Houston, on the other hand, has recorded 18 tackles and an interception this season.
This matchup is one that many people may slide under the radar, but I will certainly have my eyes on it. Expect Rodgers not to shy away from throwing to Nelson. He has had success this year against all types of coverage so I wouldn’t expect any change in the game plan.
Nelson will have to have a big day and step up yet again if the Packers offense wants to put up big numbers against a defense known for physicality and toughness.
1. Tramon Williams vs. Calvin Johnson
The No. 1 matchup the Packers must win this week is the one between cornerback Tramon Williams and Lions receiver Calvin Johnson.
Johnson has been the best receiver in the NFL over the past four seasons. Johnson (or “Megatron” as he is known in Detroit) is a very tough matchup for any cornerback. The reason he is so difficult to defend is because he is very tall, physical and has great hands. Along with those characteristics, Johnson is not afraid to go across the middle. He can also beat you with speed down the sideline. It’s a matchup nightmare for anyone that goes against him.
In his career against the Packers, Johnson has scored several times and has been a thorn in the Packers' backside.
One thing is for certain for Johnson, he can expect to see Williams lined up right in front of him the entire game. Williams is the one guy on the Packers defense they trust against Williams. In both matchups last season, Williams challenged Johnson and you would find him trying to press Johnson at the line of scrimmage.
Williams has had success in the past against Johnson and the Packers will need that success to continue if they want to try and contain the beast. Expect a great matchup between the two and expect Williams to accept any challenge Johnson brings!