The Green Bay Packers will close out their 2021 regular season with a trip to Ford Field. They are set to square off with their divisional rival in the Detroit Lions. Matt Lafleur’s group has already locked up the number one seed in the NFC by virtue of their 37-10 win over the Minnesota Vikings last Sunday. However, the third-year head coach already announced that the team would play most of its starters in week 18.
This is in an effort to keep sharp and prevent rust on both sides of the ball before heading into the bye on Wild Card Weekend. With Aaron Rodgers likely to play a few series, look for Jordan Love to handle the majority of the work as the game progresses. In the 179th meeting all time between these two historic franchises, here are three reasons the Packers will defeat the Detroit Lions.
3. Keeping Sharp for the Postseason
For the second straight season, the road to the Super Bowl in the NFC will go through Lambeau Field. Earning the right to stay home in the postseason, Green Bay knocked off the Vikings on Sunday Night Football in Week 17 to ensure they have nothing to play for during the regular season’s finale. However, earlier in the week, the team announced that its starters would play at least a few series against Detroit. A longtime debate in the NFL, Lafleur and company believe that three weeks in between games is too much of a gap.
As a result, the head coach will risk an injury to one of his star players in an effort to give them reps in the early parts of the game. An added boost as they look to capture their league-leading 14th victory, the Packers knocked off the Lions 35-17 in week 2. Torching them throughout his entire career, Aaron Rodgers has led Green Bay to five straight victories over Dan Campbell‘s group. The 38-year-old quarterback has amassed a passer rating of 108.1 while tossing 50 touchdowns to just eight interceptions in 23 games.
2. 135.9 and 27.3
The Lions have played hard under their first-year head coach all year long. Still, unable to slow down opposing offenses, the group currently ranks 28th in the NFL with 135.9 yards allowed on the ground per game. This has led them to give up 27.3 points per contest to sit third-worst in the league. Chewed up by Rashaad Penny in a 51-29 loss last Sunday, the former first-round pick rushed for a season-high 170 yards while adding in two touchdowns.
Likely to tailor his game plan to protect his star duo in Rodgers and Davante Adams, look for Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon to get significant work during this contest. They recently both surpassed the 1,000-yard mark for scrimmage yards. If the tandem can help the Packers chew up the clock on offense and keep Love ahead of the sticks late in the game, look for Green Bay to capture the victory.
1. Mounting Injuries
Limping to the finish amidst another disappointing season, the Lions enter the game down many key players. Rookie left tackle Penei Sewell remains on the COVID-19 reserve list with Taylor Decker. Michael Brockers is questionable with a neck injury, while linebacker Jaylon Reeves-Maybin has a shoulder ailment. Along with this, the team has already lost starting tight end T.J. Hockenson to a season-ending thumb injury.
Without Jared Goff the last two games as he works his way back from a knee injury, Campbell announced that the former first-round pick is probable to start. Destined to head for another rebuild as they lack the star talent and depth on their roster; if Detroit cannot get anymore key players back before kickoff on Sunday, the Packers will be able to find success on both sides of the ball, even as the backups take them to the finish line.