It’s Week 18, and the Green Bay Packers are traveling to Michigan to face off with the Detroit Lions in the final game of the regular season. This marks the fourth time in the last six years that the Packers will end the regular season at Ford Field. Already having wrapped up the 1 seed in the conference, the Packers ultimately have nothing to play for, however coach Matt LaFleur said he is planning on playing starters. With a victory, he’d improve to 40-9 as a head coach.
Green Bay has won each of the last five meetings between the teams, including a 35-17 victory in week two. Here’s a quick preview of Sunday’s game for both teams.
Pending a huge upset from the Jaguars over the Colts, the Lions are locked into the number two spot in the draft. Although their record is 2-13-1, the Lions have overall been a pretty competitive team. However, that isn’t necessarily the case when Jared Goff is out. If Goff can’t go, it will be former Packer Tim Boyle making his fourth career start.
In reference to playing his old team, Boyle noted, “It would be more cool. I get to play against a former team of mine, but part of the responsibility of a quarterback is trying to stay even keel and not really look into that kind of stuff.”
The Ringer’s Rodger Sherman has been keeping track of just how unremarkable Tim Boyle has been, and the numbers are not kind.
The whole thread is a real gem. Something else to watch for though is Lions WR Amon-Ra St brown, the brother of Packers WR Equanimeous St Brown. Amon-Ra became the 5th rookie WR ever since 1970 with 100+ receiving yards, a receiving TD, and a rushing TD in a single game. He has also surpassed Calvin Johnson’s rookie season in both receptions and yardage, while tying him in touchdown receptions.
As mentioned, having wrapped up the one seed in the conference, the Packers don’t have much to play for. With that said, quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams both voiced a desire to play in this game. Rodgers added that it would be important to keep the momentum going after winning five straight games. Not to mention, Rodgers has been pretty successful against Detroit with an 18-5 record as a starter.
Something to note for Adams though, is he has a career-high 1,498 receiving yards, which means he needs only 22 yards to pass the mark (1,519) set by Jordy Nelson in 2014. He broke his own single season record for catches already, and will be at 117 entering this game. As Dan Edwards points out, he’s having a historic season.
Not to be outdone, Aaron Jones passed Ryan Grant for fifth in Packers history in rushing yards.
Jones is only 34 yards away from tying Tony Canadeo, who had 4,197 rushing yards during his Hall of Fame career.
It’s hard to determine the best plan of attack for a game like this. If the coaches and players agree that having starters play is best, ultimately it’s up to them. Best case scenario, the starters get some good reps in, before letting the back ups come in. Nobody wants to see anyone get injured, and this is a team that could be in line to get back big contributors like Randall Cobb, Jaire Alexander, David Bakhtiari, Za’Darius Smith, Billy Turner, and Josh Myers. Even just getting one of those guys back without anyone new on the injury report is all that matters. Another extended look at Jordan Love would be fantastic just in case Rodgers doesn’t stick around.
Go Pack Go.