Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers host the Detroit Lions on Monday Night Football in NFL Week 2. Our Lions vs Packers preview examines game info, odds and key matchups that will decide this NFC North clash.
Lions vs Packers: What you need to know
- NFL games today: Full TV schedule, daily fantasy picks, best betsThe Packers host the Lions at Lambeau Field on Monday, Sept. 20 at 8:15 p.m. EST on ESPN, ESPN2.
- Sportsnaut says the Packers beat the Lions, 31-24.
- Odds: The Packers are an 11.5-point favorite with the over/under set at 49 total points.
Aaron Rodgers vs Jared Goff
Rodgers couldn’t do anything right against the New Orleans Saints in Week 1. The reigning NFL MVP made uncharacteristically bad decisions multiple times, sparking hot takes about him not really caring about the season. After posting the fourth-worst passer rating (36.8) of his career, the Lions vs Packers matchup is a great chance to rebound.
On the other side, the book is already written on Jared Goff. Many were skeptical about his abilities to be a high-end starter years ago and the past two seasons provided more evidence. But the Lions wanted to offer him a shot to turn his reputation around. That didn’t exactly happen against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 1.
- R-E-L-A-X: Rodgers tried to calm fears in Green Bay after the Week 1 loss. There is real concern about this offense for many in Wisconsin, but the Lions can help everyone feel better. Detroit pressured the San Francisco 49ers on just 10.7% of dropbacks in Week 1, allowing Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo to combine for 319 yards and two touchdowns on 26 attempts. If Rodgers doesn’t look like an MVP, then fans can panic.
- Numbers Lie: The box score shows 338 passing yards and three touchdowns for Goff in Week 1. In reality, he benefitted greatly from garbage time. Goff didn’t look good, showing the same flaws that led to Sean McVay getting tired of him. Green Bay’s defense isn’t on the 49ers’ level, but we still don’t expect much from Goff.
Advantage: Aaron Rodgers
D’Andre Swift, Jamaal Williams vs Packers’ defense
A few weeks ago, head coach Dan Campbell wasn’t sure if D’Andre Swift would be in good enough shape to play in Week 1. Hours before the game, it was reported the 2020 second-round pick wouldn’t see a ton of reps. It turns out, Swift is just fine and he is more than capable of burning a team on the ground or as a receiver.
The Packers should be worried about their defense. New Orleans walked all over this unit, racking up 171 rushing yards on 39 carries. Keep in mind, Alvin Kamara sat in the fourth quarter and backup Tony Jones Jr. played the first meaningful snaps of his NFL career. Given Detroit’s brand of football, it will pursue a similar approach in Week 2.
- 1-2 punch: Detroit’s rushing duo of Swift and Jamaal Williams doesn’t receive a ton of recognition, but it’s fun to watch. Swift is electric with the football in his hands and Green Bay knows Williams (4.2 ypc last season) boasts starting-caliber talent. Both rushers will be featured against the Packers in Week 2.
- Trench Trouble: One of the few strengths of this Lions’ roster is its offensive line and that is bad news for Green Bay on Monday night. Kenny Clark will cause some problems, but the ends on each side of him (Dean Lowry, Kingsley Keke) can get pushed around. With the Packers also weak at linebacker, there’s a clear are for Detroit to exploit in this matchup.
Advantage: D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams
Lions’ secondary vs Davante Adams
Davante Adams knows Green Bay’s aerial attack was flat against the New Orleans Saints, a credit to outstanding double coverage by New Orleans and poor execution by the Packers. In a contract year, the All-Pro wide receiver wants Rodgers to take more shots even if there are two cornerbacks around. Fortunately for thi duo, Lions vs Packers is a “get right” moment.
- Detroit’s Big Problem: Coming out of Week 1, the gaping holes in the Lions’ secondary were evident. It’s even worse with Jeff Okudah lost for the season. Either rookie Ifeatu Melifonwu or veteran Amani Oruwariye will be lined up against Adams. Even with safety help, there is little chance of anyone on this roster stopping him.
- Something to Prove: There are few things more dangerous than an elite talent with a chip on his shoulder. The Packers’ contract negotiations with Adams were viewed as insulting by the star receiver and he’s using it as fuel this season. Expect Rodgers to throw his way all night, boosting his stats and helping Adams get paid next spring.
Advantage: Davante Adams
The bottom line: The final Lions vs Packers score might be closer than many expect. Green Bay is playing without Za’Darius Smith and David Bakhtiari, phenomenal talents whose losses impact the team significantly on both sides of the ball. With that said, the Packers’ advantages on offense should help them win fairly easily and they’ll likely put up a ton of points.