5 Detroit Lions Players Green Bay Packers Must Contain
5 Detroit Lions Players Green Bay Packers Must Contain
The last time the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions met this season the Packers were trying to get back into first place in the NFC North division. When the two teams meet tomorrow on Thanksgiving the storyline will be the same.
The Packers come into the game with a record of 5-5-1 and trail the Lions by a half game (Lions have a record of 6-5). The game will take place at Ford Field in Detroit and is the annual Thanksgiving Day game the Lions play in every season. The two teams have played on Thanksgiving 21 times with the Lions holding an 11-8-1 advantage. The most recent game was in 2011 when the Packers defeated the Lions in the infamous Ndamukong Suh stomp game where he was ejected.
This match-up will certainly be different than last time and has much more fuel thanks to a few choice words from Packers offensive lineman Josh Sitton. Sitton was quoted as saying the Lions' players are “dirt bags” and went on to say it starts with the head coach. It is clear these two teams hate each other, and there certainly will be no holding hands and smiles going around between the two on a day where everyone is giving thanks.
The Packers will be without Aaron Rodgers yet again, and Matt Flynn will be the starter. Flynn has had very good success against the Lions in his career, and he will look to continue that success tomorrow. He will be a guy the Lions key in on and surely will have a lot of respect for how he plays. The Packers, on the other hand, will have to key in on a few more guys and try to stop them if they want to get back into first place.
Here are the 5 players on the Lions I believe the Packers will need to stop to be successful in this game tomorrow.
5. Dominic Raiola
The first player on my watch list for the Packers against the Lions is center Dominic Raiola. Raiola has been around for many of the Packers/Lions match-ups and has always been a guy that has tried to start some problems in games.
He is a very tough, physical player, but at times he can be dirty. Regardless of his characteristics on the field his performance speaks for itself. He is the man that controls the offensive line for the Lions and is one of the main reasons that they lead the league in protecting their quarterback Matthew Stafford.
Stafford has only been sacked 14 times this season, and he can thank Raiola and the dominant offensive line for the Lions. However, five of the 14 sacks allowed this season came at the hands of the Packers back in Week 5.
The Packers will have to keep their eyes on Raiola and try to get him and the rest of the offensive line off balance to get after Stafford once again. If they can they have a great shot of being successful tomorrow afternoon.
4. Chris Houston
The next player on my list that the Packers must try to go after and control is cornerback Chris Houston. Houston has struggled this season and got lit up by the Packers during their first meeting. He allowed 127 yards and a touchdown to James Jones, and he will certainly be a guy the Packers look to attack.
Overall, Houston is a very good cornerback that has good speed and can play physical on the line of scrimmage. He can give the Packers receivers problems, and with the pass rush the Lions have he can have great success if he can jam the receivers on the line .
I look for the Packers to watch a lot of tape on Houston and go back to how they had success during their first meeting. The Packers should attack Houston, but keep in mind it isn't Rodgers throwing passes to the guys on the outside. I’m sure Houston is very excited about that.
The Packers will match-up against Houston with Jones and Jordy Nelson, and this will certainly be a match-up to look at on Turkey Day.
3. Reggie Bush
Running back Reggie Bush is the next Lions player the Packers must try and stop tomorrow afternoon. He is an explosive playmaking running back who can beat you in so many ways. Over the past few seasons, Bush has proved he can run through tackles and isn’t just a sideline-to-sideline type of runner. This kind of explosive attack will be something the Packers have to try and keep under wraps.
In the first meeting back in early October, Bush struggled to get anything going against the Packers. He rushed for 44 yards on 13 carries and had four catches for 25 yards. It was a game that Bush would like to forget. He was bottled up whenever he caught the ball or tried to hit the holes, and the defense really stepped up against him.
However, any Packers fan can truthfully say a reason for Bush’s struggles had to do with the fact that Calvin Johnson did not play due to an injury. This won’t be the case tomorrow. Johnson will be on the field, and now that the Packers will have to focus on the game's best receiver Bush may find more space to run and make plays.
The Packers have played against big time running backs this season and have had mixed results. At times they have looked good, but they have also shown signs of poor tackling and allowing backs to break big plays. If they want to win this game tomorrow they can’t allow Bush to make big plays for the Lions.
2. Ndamukong Suh
No list of Lions players to control is complete without Ndamukong Suh’s name somewhere within. The word’s control and Suh really don’t go hand in hand, but if the Packers are going to be successful on offense they will need to be balanced and protect the quarterback. In order for this to happen, they must try to slow down Suh.
Suh is famous for his stomp on Evan Dietrich-Smith during Thanksgiving in 2011 that led to his ejection and the label of “the dirtiest player in the NFL.” However, he still is one of the most dominant down lineman in the league, and along with his three other linemen they create havoc for opposing quarterbacks and really put emphasis on making teams one dimensional.
The Packers will look to get Eddie Lacy going on the ground in an attempt to make Matt Flynn’s job a little easier. If they can’t control Suh and he is able to bring down Lacy and get after Flynn it may be a long day for the Packers.
Suh certainly loves a good Thanksgiving meal, and he will be looking to feast on Packers players tomorrow afternoon. For the Packers to win this game and get their offense moving they must try their best to stop Suh -- it starts with you Josh Sitton.
1. Calvin Johnson
The top player on the Lions roster that the Packers have to try and control is obviously Calvin Johnson. There is no way any defense can just stop Johnson, but you must try your best to contain him. This means keeping him within the 100-120 yard range and not allowing more than one touchdown to Megatron.
I have seen Johnson torch the Packers several times throughout his career and have learned to live with the fact that he will have good games. He’ll get his 7-10 catches and will be over 100 yards, but if the Packers can make sure he doesn’t have a breakout game with several touchdowns they can be successful and hopefully create some turnovers.
Luckily for the Packers, Sam Shields is expected to return after missing a few games with an injury, and he will draw the assignment of Johnson. I expect Tramon Williams to also get some match-ups against Johnson.
No matter who goes up against the beast, the Packers' defense as a whole must be on their A game. They have to try and create turnovers and get after Matthew Stafford. Ideally, if the Packers can keep the Lions under 24 points they give themselves a great chance at winning. In order for this to happen, Dom Capers must draw up a scheme to contain Johnson.