The Packers weren’t quite playing their type of football until the second half of Week 2 when Aaron Rodgers and Co. finally began lighting up the scoreboard. In the Packers’ 31-24 victory over New York last week, the rest of the league saw just how productive Green Bay’s offense can be when all pieces are in-sync. The possibility of Bryan Bulaga’s return this week suggests that the offense could remain just as lethal in Detroit, which shifts the spotlight to the defensive side of the ball where the Packers face a tall task against Matthew Stafford and the Lions O.
The Lions haven’t been particularly effective running the ball in their first two regular season games, having been held to fewer than 80 yards rushing in each while halfback Joique Bell averaged less than four yards per carry. Not overly active in the Lions’ ground game thus far has been Reggie Bush, who tore apart Green Bay’s defense last Thanksgiving, both between the tackles and in the flat. Despite a knee injury that has kept Bush’s role limited, I expect No.21 to be used at least as a distraction against the Packers.
The Packers defense, however, will be more than preoccupied on the perimeter with Calvin Johnson, who has been a routine nightmare for the Green Bay secondary. The play of highly-paid cornerback Sam Shields could be a difference-maker in this contest, in addition to the support provided by safeties Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Micah Hyde and Morgan Burnett.
Of course, the secondary will require some help up front by Mike Daniels and Clay Matthews, who has been particularly quiet to begin the season, despite a sack last week. In two games as a Packer, Julius Peppers hasn’t been overly disruptive for opposing quarterbacks, evidenced by a higher-than-expected amount of playing time on passing downs for Nick Perry. The Packers will need to be quicker to the quarterback this week as they face a much better passer in Stafford than the pedestrian Geno Smith.
Mike McCarthy and the rest of the team may very well play with a chip on their shoulders after the embarrassing blow-out loss in Detroit last Thanksgiving. If one thing is for sure, it’s that Dom Capers must come out with something other than vanilla defensive schemes. The talent differential between the Lions offense and Packers defense gives Detroit a significant advantage at home that will be difficult for Rodgers to match for four straight quarters.