GREEN BAY, Wis. - The Detroit Lions visit Monday night for a NFC North showdown. Here’s what you need to know before kickoff at 7:30 p.m. at Lambeau Field.
Storylines to watch:
Moving and shaking: The Packers made a few significant roster moves this week. Former Badgers OLB Vince Biegel will be activated for Monday night’s game, which the team hopes will bolster its edge rushing ability. Safety Kentrell Brice and long snapper Taybor Pepper were moved to injured reserve, DT Ricky Jean Francois was released, and re-signed LS Derek Hart.
Living on the edge: Lions QB Matthew Stafford has been sacked 25 times, which is tied for second most in the NFL. In their last game, the Packers sacked Drew Brees just once and only got to him three times. Ahmad Brooks is questionable yet again with a back injury, Clay Matthews has only 2.5 sacks so far this year, and Nick Perry claims just one more at 3.5. Dom Capers must get Kenny Clark and Mike Daniels involved in the rush. A matchup to watch is how adding Biegel into the mix a bit will help bolster the Packers’ lethargic pass rush.
The Rolling Jones: Aaron Jones has given Packers fans something to be excited about on the offensive side of the ball since the other Aaron (Rodgers, that is) has been injured. He’s rushed for a hair shy of 300 yards (297) for two scores in the last three games. Detroit boasts the NFL’s sixth-best rush defense, allowing 91.6 yards per game, performing well against Le’Veon Bell but also struggling with Devonta Freeman, Dalvin Cook and Mark Ingram. Green Bay needs another solid performance from Jones to keep the hope alive on offense.
Airing it out: Against the Saints, Jordy Nelson, Davante Adams, Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison combined for just six catches. No, that’s not a typo. Brett Hundley wasn’t able to get them the ball last time they took the field, but maybe another week with a new and improved game plan will help get the Packers’ biggest playmakers involved. While Hundley might not have had great field vision against the Saints, he must get the ball out fast, take short shots and rely on his teammates’ ability to gain yards after catch. This stacked receiver corps have to be involved if the Packers want to win Monday. But on the flip side…
Lions also lack roaring offense: Detroit has a pretty consistent running game but completely failed to find the end zone in its last time out against the Steelers, despite 482 yards of offense. Especially difficult for the Lions in their last game was sealing the deal in the red zone, where Stafford completed just 2-of-11 passes for six yards -- and zero conversion. Backs Dwayne Washington and Ameer Adbullah combined for a measly four yards on five carries in the red zone.
Major game face: Mike Daniels gave an impassioned answer Saturday when asked about his feelings about the Detroit Lions. After the last two divisional games saw two major keys on offense - Davante Adams and Aaron Rodgers - leave the game with injuries, Daniels said he and the defense are inspired to play hard. Another significant matchup to watch is Daniels and/or Kenny Clark versus former Packers guard T.J. Lang, who joined Detroit this offseason.
Not Marty’s world this week: Martellus Bennett hasn’t practiced since Tuesday due to a shoulder injury and is questionable for Monday’s contest. This could open the door for Lance Kendricks and Richard Rodgers to receive more targets, the latter with whom Brett Hundley has got to feel comfortable because they have more practice reps together.
Packers lead the all-time series, 100-68-7
This is the third Monday Night Football meeting for these two squads
Green Bay’s 100 wins over Detroit are the most the Packers have against any team
The Packers are 33-11-3 against the Lions at Lambeau