As the temperature drops and the calendar turns, let’s, for a sizzling second, flash again to a greater time, a less complicated time for followers of the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers.
The month was October. The Week was four. Detroit and Green Bay stood atop the NFC North. Aaron Rodgers, with two good clavicles, was one week from silencing Cowboys’ stands perpetually.
Just one month and alter later, the Lions have misplaced three straight and the Pack have misplaced their beginning quarterback and his collarbone for the season. Suddenly, the Minnesota Vikings, led by Case Keenum of all folks, are in command of the Norse division, two video games up on Acme and three up on Motown.
If both mid-tier Midwest membership would not act quick, the Vikings are going to sail into the postseason, with out their beginning quarterback and operating again and and not using a battle from their foes to the east.
The battle again into the playoff race begins on Monday evening for each Detroit and Green Bay. The Lions have a chance to rattle off a three-game successful streak in the event that they knock off Green Bay in Green Bay for the second time of their final three tries; after the Pack, Detroit has conferences with two rookie quarterbacks in consecutive weeks (DeShone Kizer’s Browns, Mitchell Trubisky’s Bears) earlier than clashing with the Vikes.
It will not get simpler for Rodgers fill-in Brett Hundley after Monday evening. His subsequent three opponents (Bears, Ravens, Steelers) all boast fierce entrance sevens and top-10 cross defenses. A win over Detroit, to remain two video games over .500 on the halfway level, could be tight.
Here’s what else it’s best to search for on the primary Monday night of November within the 12 months of our Lombardi 2017:
1. The drop off in play from Aaron Rodgers, gone however not forgotten, to Brett Hundley is noticeable and can go beneath the microscope on prime-time tv this week. On tape, it is clear Hundley struggles to throw the deep ball with any accuracy and is at his greatest when he is throwing timed routes in need of the sticks or behind the road of scrimmage. If Green Bay will get down early in opposition to Detroit, there is not any proof that Hundley has the capability to guide a game-turning drive. But that was all earlier than the bye. Maybe since, the Packers’ consecutive losses to Minnesota and New Orleans, during which they scored fewer than 20 factors, Green Bay has crafted a package deal that fits Hundley higher. Potentially one thing with extra fast strikes to Davante Adams and Randall Cobb or learn choices with … Aaron Jones.
Jones, thrust into the highlight as a result of accidents to Rodgers and beginning again Ty Montgomery, the rookie out of UTEP has badumed a predominant function in Green Bay’s offensive recreation plan. With Hundley going by means of the motions and the Packers’ offensive line getting more healthy, Green Bay ought to depend on the speedy freshman on Monday evening. Besting the Lions entrance seven will likely be a troublesome process although. Detroit has solely surrendered over 100 speeding yards twice this season and simply final week held Le’Veon Bell to his worst exhibiting in 5 weeks.
2. Detroit’s purple zone woes final week have been properly documented. The 27th-ranked purple zone scoring offense within the league made 5 journeys inside Pittsburgh’s 20-yard line and got here out with 9 factors. Nine! Three discipline objectives and two turnover on downs for an offense that in any other case railroaded a reliable Steelers protection for 482 yards, the third-most yards scored with out an offensive landing in NFL historical past. The Lions ran 17 performs contained in the 20 and tallied 9 whole yards. Amazingly, Detroit gained multiple yard on solely three of these 17 performs.
Part of the Lions’ downside was the absence of a go-to red-zone receiving menace; the big-bodied Kenny Golladay was out and Eric Ebron has not been dependable. Part of their points stem from the shortage of a constant energy operating recreation; Lions coach Jim Caldwell insists Dwayne Washington can play that function, however the again tried 4 red-zone carries and got here up with simply six yards. After per week of deep reflection and self-evaluation and with Golladay questionable to play, will Detroit’s scoring points persist in opposition to Green Bay?
three. The Packers’ protection will likely be pleased to welcome again two probably essential contributors on Monday evening: veteran security Morgan Burnett and rookie linebacker Vince Biegel. Sidelined by a hammmy the final two video games, Burnett is the irreplaceable fixture of Green Bay’s nitro nickel protection and returns to the Green Bay secondary simply as accidents are mounting. Burnett is charged with calling out the performs and getting the defensive lined up, so search for Green Bay to restrict Detroit’s mbadive performs with the security again in motion. Biegel was extremely touted popping out of Wisconsin, however was injured throughout his first week of practices and has but to see the sphere. Activated off the PUP listing this week, he’ll doubtless make his debut in opposition to the Lions, both in particular groups or sub-packages.
four. Detroit has one thing brewing within the entrance seven. The Lions boast a younger nucleus of first- and second-year studs up the center, specifically Jarrad Davis, A’Shawn Robinson, Anthony Zettel and Jalen Reeves-Maybin. As with their divisional foes in Chicago, Detroit is stunning offenses with its run-stuffing capability, however will likely be tasked Monday evening with slowing down Jones, one of many league’s most proficient hole-hitters.
The similar competence can’t be stated concerning the different aspect of the ball. “Paced” by Ameer Abdullah, the Lions’ operating recreation has underwhelmed to date. Detroit hasn’t damaged 100 yards on the bottom since Week 2, and a Lions operating again hasn’t rushed for over 100 yards since Reggie Bush in November 2013. Perhaps that may change in opposition to the Pack, who have not surrendered fewer than 100 speeding yards since Week 1.