Four Days to Kickoff: 4 Items from Inside the Lions

Bill Huber

GREEN BAY, Wis. – The Green Bay Packers (1-0) will open their Lambeau Field schedule on Sunday against the Detroit Lions (0-1). Let’s get to know the foe with John Maakaron from the Sports Illustrated channel All Lions.

1.) It’s not difficult to see what happened to Detroit last week and think it’s the “same old Lions,” a team that’s just sort of doomed to snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. What’s your feel for the team, though?

The Lions found another way to lose a lead late in a football game. Even Packers coach Matt LaFleur felt Detroit should have come away with the victory. Unfortunately, it feels like more of the same to start the 2020 season: mistakes, bad mental errors that occur at the worst possible occasions and a team that does not know how to win consistently. After the loss to the Bears, supporters were lamenting the bad drop by rookie running back D'Andre Swift and the ejection of veteran linebacker Jamie Collins. Both were “baptized” as Lions already in their tenure in Motown. It is tough to gauge early in the season what this team is due to all the injuries. But one thing is certain: Nobody likes the defense that Matt Patricia is running here in Detroit.

2.) As someone with an on-again, off-again back problem, it’s always sort of there in the back of my mind. Is there any long-term concern about Matthew Stafford’s back? And can an offensive line put together through a tremendous amount of resources in terms of draft picks and cash give him time to work his magic?

Yes, there is concern regarding the long-term health of Stafford. Two significant injuries will always make some concerned about his future. He performed just OK in his return and made some key mistakes late in the game against the Bears. The offensive line for Detroit performed well, as evidenced by the solid performance of veteran running back Adrian Peterson. Center Frank Ragnow has the potential to become one of the elite offensive linemen in all of football. Early in the season, the major concerns will be at the guard position, as Detroit is starting rookie Jonah Jackson at right guard and Joe Dahl at left guard.

3.) If they’re healthy, that secondary looks really good. But can they rush the passer well enough to, A, bother Rodgers and, B, take advantage of Green Bay’s uncertain offensive line?

Patricia's defense is predicated on not giving up big plays and getting just enough pressure to attempt to disrupt their opponent's offense. I don't see Detroit getting to Aaron Rodgers simply because it doesn’t have enough talent on the defensive line outside of Trey Flowers and Jamie Collins. Stop them and if Rodgers releases the ball quickly enough, he won't have much to worry about from Detroit's defensive line.

4.) Let’s assume receiver Kenny Golladay and cornerbacks Desmond Trufant and Jeff Okudah are good to go health-wise. Who wins and why?

Last year, Green Bay led all of zero seconds against Detroit in both games and still came away with two late victories. Golladay, Trufant and Okudah may all play, but all are dealing with early nagging injuries. I don't see too many advantages Detroit will have in this one. Green Bay should win handily 31-20.

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