5 Key Players Lions Need to Defeat Packers

Vito Chirco

Injuries, injuries and more injuries. 

They have begun to mount, as the Lions prepare for their Week 2 contest with Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.

Among the myriad of them, veteran slot cornerback Justin Coleman has been placed on injured reserve with a hamstring injury, while the status of fellow defensive back Desmond Trufant and Kenny Golladay, the team's star wide receiver, remains highly in question for this week.

Subsequently, other players on Detroit's 53-man roster need to step up in their absence. 

Here are the five players the Lions need to perform well this weekend in order to defeat the Packers.

RB Adrian Peterson 

Based on Kerryon Johnson's overall ineffectiveness (seven carries for 14 yards) and D'Andre Swift's lack of productivity as a ball carrier (three rushes for eight yards with a one-yard score) last week against the Bears, Peterson will be hugely needed in order to establish a ground attack against Green Bay. 

In his Lions debut, he finished with 14 carries for 93 yards, to go along with three receptions for 21 yards.

In 19 career games against the Packers, the veteran running back has recorded 385 carries for 1,975 yards and 16 touchdowns -- all of which are the most he's produced against a single opponent. He's also averaged 103.9 yards per game. 

Detroit will be more than satisfied if it receives anything close to that level of production Sunday at Lambeau Field. 

TE T.J. Hockenson 

The second-year tight end might finally be coming into form. 

After all the speculation this offseason that he could be on the verge of a breakout season in his second year in the league, he came through with a solid performance in Week 1 against the Bears. 

He accumulated 56 yards and a touchdown on five receptions. 

If Golladay fails to suit up for a second consecutive week, it makes Hock's presence in the passing game, especially in the red zone, that much more needed and impactful.

Expect Hockenson to continue to grow into a very reliable red-zone target as the season progresses. 

LB Jamie Collins 

He badly needs to be on the field for all four quarters Sunday against Rodgers and the Packers' explosive offensive attack. 

As is common knowledge by now, he was ejected in the second quarter of Detroit's season-opening contest against Chicago for lowering his head into an official. 

He was trying to convey to the ref what Bears running back David Montgomery had been doing to Lions defenders, lowering his helmet into the opposition when finishing his runs. However, it was still a boneheaded decision by Collins, and it cost the Lions dearly in the Bears' 27-23 come-from-behind victory.

© Junfu Han via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Before being ejected, he finished with a measly two combined tackles, zero sacks and zero tackles for loss.

Not exactly the kind of debut Lions fans were expecting from the veteran linebacker. 

He's expected to play a big role in Detroit's attempt to curtail the production of Green Bay running back Aaron Jones, who rushed for 66 yards and a score last week against the Minnesota Vikings.

All in all, he needs to play much better in his second game in Honolulu Blue.

CB Amani Oruwariye 

Oruwariye could have a big-time task awaiting him when the Lions and Packers square off with one another Sunday. 

The second-year corner could end up being the individual assigned to cover Green Bay No. 1 wideout Davante Adams for most of the game. 

It appears that could be the case due to injuries to Coleman, who was placed on IR earlier this week, and Trufant, who is in fear of missing Sunday's contest with a hamstring ailment. 

And sure, you can make the argument that rookie Jeff Okudah, Detroit's 2020 first-round pick (No. 3 overall), should be given the assignment to man Adams. 

But, remember, if he plays, it'll be his first career NFL game and a mighty large task for him to take on the elite veteran wideout and go-to receiver of Rodgers.

It's why Oruwariye likely gets the gig -- making his play ultra critical to the success the Lions have this weekend.

QB Matthew Stafford 

Undoubtedly, the Lions need to frequently enter the end zone in their Week 2 tilt with Rodgers & Co. 

And the man spearheading that movement: None other than the team's franchise passer in Stafford.

A week ago, there were too many times -- four times, in fact -- where the offense settled for Matt Prater field goals. 

He made three of them, but missed the final and most crucial of his four attempts from 55 yards out with 4:08 to play.

If the Lions get in the red zone Sunday, they must find a way to punch it in for six consistently -- whether it be via a Peterson run, a pass to Swift out of the backfield or a throw to Hockenson as he "boxes out" his defender in the end zone. 

And the scoring must be often, as this week's matchup between the NFC North rivals is likely to become a high-scoring affair.

In 18 career games against Green Bay, Detroit's longtime signal-caller has thrown for 34 career touchdowns -- which is tied with Pro Football Hall of Famer Johnny Unitas for the most career passing TDs against the Pack.

Stafford needs to throw a few more of those this weekend in order for the Lions to have even a remote shot at defeating the "Cheeseheads" on the road. 

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Comments (6)
No. 1-3

There really weren’t that many silver linings this week. T.J. played well, but offense needed to target him much more


Lions need the whole team, including coaches, to show up with smarts, discipline, and relentless aggression.