Why the Packers Streak Will Stop in Detroit
Retired football Coach Madden joined Brian in a debate over who will win this Thursday’s key NFC North game in Detroit.
~WHY THE PACKERS WILL MOTOR THRU DETROIT STILL UNDEFEATED
By Christopher Madden, Packers Insider Analyst
1- Aaron Rodgers
He is the unquestioned MVP of the NFL so far in 2011 and will be the best player on the field. He has shown the ability to get anyone and everyone involved in the game and prevents any defense from being able to shut down the pass because he simply has too many weapons and knows how to use them all to beat any defense.
2- Aaron Rodgers
He is so good he deserves another comment. He is a winner. Having won the Super Bowl this February and battling for weeks of must-win games makes a game like this just another game for him. This game won’t phase Rodgers and he actually thrives in moments like this.
He has won and played at an extremely high level in the highest of stages in last year’s Super Bowl so this will be just another game for him unlike the QB who will be taking the snaps for the Lions.
If Rodgers could handle the Steelers with Harrison, Woodley, Polamalu, and coach Dick LeBeau with ease in a loud dome, he can handle the Lions defense in a dome.
3- Charles Woodson
He loves the spotlight, and coming back to Michigan seems to always bring out his best. Two years ago he took back an INT for a touchdown in a Packers Slaughter on Turkey Day and he will be looking to do it again Thursday. Yes, he will get beat a few times but the risk seems to always be worth the reward every time number 21 lines up in the game so Matthew Stafford better be careful.
4- Clay Matthews
Points will be plenty in this game, but having a guy with his motor will be an added bonus when looking for that key sack to stop a drive. Clay seems to thrive in big games and having the national spotlight on him this day will be just what he needs. I would expect two sacks for him in this game.
5- Packers Experience
Having so many guys that have won a Super Bowl, Playoff games on the road, and every team gearing up for them each week has only made this team tougher. This has nothing to do with what they will face in Detroit but Green Bay has become the New England of the NFL, the team that everyone aspires to be.
Green Bay 37
Detroit will get their points. Green Bay will get theirs. This is a game for men. The home crowd will be louder then ever before at Ford Field. It will work until the middle of the third quarter. That is when the thoroughbreds will make their move. It will come quick. It will take a close game and bring it out of reach.
WHY THE PACKERS STREAK WILL STOP IN DETROIT
By Brian E Murphy, Packers Insider senior Editor
#1- The Packers defense has made lesser QB’s and offenses look great this year
Matthew Stafford and the Lions are coming off a 35-point second half at home vs. Carolina en route to a 49-35 win over the Panthers. Stafford threw 5 touchdown passes in the game. And none went to Calvin Johnson.
The Packers have made numerous quarterbacks look Hall of Famish at times this year, from great ones like Drew Brees, to struggling Philip Rivers, rookie Cam Newton, and bottom-10 Josh Freeman this past week.
If Rivers and the Chargers can roll up 38 points, on grass, against the Packers defense, these Lions could put up 49 on these Packers as they did to Carolina on Sunday.
This is Stafford coming off a 5-touchdown game and his total of 20 touchdown passes this year is 4th in the NFL, behind only Rodgers, Brees, and Brady.
Remember, the Packers only scored 30 on Carolina in week two. Detroit just scored 49 on them over the final three quarters.
#2- The Lions beat the Packers last year once, and almost beat them in Green Bay as well. Both times with backup QB’s
Make no mistake about it. Believing you can beat a team can give a team the confidence that’s necessary to win. These guys know they can beat the Packers because they did it the past time Green Bay visited Ford Field. And they beat the Packers with their 3rd string QB, Drew Stanton. And they did it in a year they went 6-10. Now the Lions are 7-3, and have their franchise QB Stafford starting, as well as a healthy group of WR’s and TE’s.
Calvin Johnson has given Charles Woodson and the Packers fits since he entered the league. He’s beaten Woodson high and low, inside and outside, for touchdowns. And that was a younger Woodson.
The Packers best bet will be to put the taller and faster Tramon Williams on Johnson. However, Packer fans might remember Mike Williams this past week having his best game of the season, with a touchdown and other big catches against Williams. Also, Tramon was victimized repeatedly in San Diego three weeks ago by Vincent Jackson, who had been struggling all year until that game.
Johnson is in a league of his own as far as talent and size go. He’s a mismatch for whoever the Packers put on him, as history shows.
#4- The Scheffler Factor
It’s no secret the Packers linebackers always have trouble with good tight ends. From Greg Olsen to Vernon Davis to Antonio Gates and now Kellen Winslow, opposing tight ends often have season highs against the heavy feet and slow hips of AJ Hawk and Desmond Bishop.
The Lions have Brandon Pettigrew starting at tight end, but it’s the dancing machine Tony Scheffler, Greg Jennings former teammate at Western Michigan, who find the end zone.
All he does is catch touchdowns. And then do his creative John Travolta-esque dancing afterwards. Scheffler is happy to be out of Denver.
#5- The Lions Defensive Line
They’re talented and mean, and they take pride taking out quarterbacks. It was a seemingly harmless scramble last year that got Aaron Rodgers concussed and knocked out of the game, and it was a linebacker, DeAndre Levy. But the Lions D-Line will be getting after Rodgers and they have a relentless cast.
It starts with the dirty, but dominating Ndamukong Suh. But there’s also the relentless DE’s Kyle Vanden Bosch and Cliff Avril off the edges, and former Packer Corey Williams and this year’s first rounder Nick Fairley in the middle. Fairley has also been fined for dirty hits, as Suh has repeatedly.
These guys are capable of dominating the Packers offensive line, especially with Marshall Newhouse on one edge, and Bryan Bulaga on the other edge less-than-100% health-wise.
Rodgers has taken far too many hits the past few weeks, both in the pocket, out of the pocket, and running the ball.
Frightfully, his luck might run out this week, again in Detroit. We’ve just seen four other playoff-focused teams lose their quarterbacks for the season or a few games (Schaub in Houston, Vick in Philadelphia, Cassel in Kansas City, and Cutler in Chicago). Rodgers has been flirting with fire since the first time he faced Jared Allen back in week 7.
I don’t think the Packers offensive line can keep him clean enough in Detroit and I expect Rodgers to be battered in this game, clean or nor on the Lions part.
#6- The Ford Field Fanatics
Fair-weather fans or not, the place will be as loud as ever as they relish the opportunity to show they are contenders and knock off the defending champions in front of the rest of the league who will all be home watching it.
If you don’t think that crowd can be a factor against a superior Packers team, you might have forgotten a few Packers visits to Detroit during the Favre era. That team lost in Detroit even during their 1996 championship season, and much of it had to do with the crowd and crowd noise. Just like in Minnesota, the noise has an impact on the Packers offensive line. It gives the defense a slight head-start going after the quarterback.
Yes, the Packers still won at Minnesota despite Jared Allen sacking and chasing Rodgers all day. But that was only a 6-point win, and it was Christian Ponder’s first start ever at QB in the NFL. The crowd noise will be a factor on Thursday.
The Lions win over Carolina last week was the third time this season they have come back to win a game that they trailed by 17 or more points. These guys don’t mind falling behind. They never give up, and won’t be phased if Rodgers propels the Packers out to a 21-0 or 27-7 lead. The Lions have come back from more than that to beat the Cowboys and Vikings earlier this year.
As long as Rodgers and the other key guys exit Detroit relatively healthy, this loss will do more good than harm, as was the case the last time the Packers were 10-0 almost 50 years ago.
That was the 1962 season and those 10-0 Packers also lost in Detroit on Thanksgiving. That Packer team went on to win the NFL title. Will history repeat itself?