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December 9, 2004

Packers vs. Lions Preview

The first meeting of these divisional rivals turned the Packers' season around. Green Bay managed to stifle the ailing Detroit offense, and rolled to a 38-10 victory at Ford Field. Things will be different this time around, however, as the Lions will have full use of their promising rookie weapons Roy Williams and Kevin Jones...

The key to this game for the Packers will be consistently stopping the run. Unfortunately for them, the anchor of their defensive line is listed as questionable for the game. Grady Jackson, who came up huge in the first meeting between these two teams is still nursing a season long knee injury, and will no doubt have a huge impact on this game whether he plays or not. If the Packers can stop the run early on, they will force the Lions to pass more often. If they know the Lions will be passing, they can drop additional people into coverage and neutralize the Lions downfield threat, Roy Williams. Stopping the run, however, is not going to be easy. The Lions rookie half-back Kevin Jones has been on fire lately, and has averaged over one hundred yards in every game he has started. With veteran full-back Cory Schlesinger leading the blocking for the Lions, the Packers' d-line and linebackers are going to have their hands full. In addition to Jackson's injury trouble, Packers' linebacker Na'il Diggs is listed as doubtful for Sunday with a bruised kidney. Diggs is second on the team in tackles, and has been crucial in stopping the run this season. Back-up Paris Lenon is expected to start in his place, which is enough to make any Packers fan more than little uneasy.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Packers are going to need to establish a running game of their own. Green Bay knows that Detroit's linebackers are their greatest weakness on defense, and are likely to run the ball thirty times or more. The Lions' defensive line is led by nose tackle Shaun Rogers, who is quite adept at plugging up the middle. Look for the Packers to bounce the ball outside on toss plays with any of their three running backs. Once the Packers show the Lions that they can run the ball, they can begin to work with play action to open up the secondary. A proficient running game also opens the door for creative play calling, such as reverses and half-back options. Let's not forget that last time these teams met, running back Ahman Green managed to throw a touchdown pass to Donald Driver. Some key match-ups include Al Harris on Roy Williams, and Ahmad Carroll on Tai Streets. Don't be surprised to see Packers' defensive coordinator Bob Slowik switching up the coverage and allowing Carroll to cover Williams. While this may seem like a mismatch on paper, Carroll has experience defending Williams from when the two met in college play.

Posted by abai0001 at December 9, 2004 3:09 PM | Game Summaries

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