- Can Brett Hundley take advantage of Mike McCarthy's downfield "shot-plays"? Will Matthew Stafford fend off the Packers' defense?
Previewing Lions at Packers on NFL Week 9 Monday Night Football...
The Lions’ defense plays a lot of soft two-high zone in an effort to make the opposing offense dink-and-dunk its way down the field. Packers QB Brett Hundley should have clearly defined reads against this, but he’ll have to process those reads much quicker than he did against the Vikings and Saints. He also must take advantage when Mike McCarthy dials up downfield “shot-plays.” Jordy Nelson twice got open on deep-over routes against the Saints, where he was matched against a linebacker, and Hundley failed to recognize both. (Nelson did an admirable, but not perfect, job hiding his frustration.) Green Bay knows what coverage Detroit will often be in, so designer shot-plays are there to be had.
However it’s imperative that Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers comes after Lions QB Matthew Stafford—this is a perfect week for Capers to dip into the disguised interior blitzes that he loves. The alternative is to sit back in two-deep coverage and hope that Stafford doesn’t extend the play with his legs or rifle a ball into the deep voids along the sideline. Detroit isn’t great at wide receiver; Green Bay, though not great at cornerback, must play press-man outside and attack Stafford inside.
Packers S Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix is the man Stafford has studied the most leading up to this game. Much of what Detroit does stems from Stafford diagnosing the defense at the line of scrimmage pre-snap. They want Stafford to get a clear picture, so the Lions get to the line early and keep their formations static, rarely sending guys in motion. But that’s hard against Green Bay because Clinton-Dix moves around so much prior to the snap. He’ll cover as much as one-third of the width of the field doing this.
Bold Prediction: Lions rookie linebacker Jarrad Davis will have 10 tackles. Davis, an imposing athlete, has a chance to be one of the league’s elite defenders.