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November

2011 NFL Season Week 12: Green Bay Packers vs Detroit Lions Preview: A Bump In The Road To Perfection?

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It’s finally here. The game Packer fans have circled since the Green Bay Packers ‘ season began.

Detroit Lions. Ford Field. Thanksgiving.

As the Packers knocked off opponent after opponent, fans kept glancing nervously at the schedule each week. Now the game is finally here.

Will the dream run continue or does the magic end here? Let’s look at the Lions first.

Key Lions Players

QB Matthew Stafford

This season has left little doubt: when healthy Stafford is the second best quarter in the NFC North. He has put the Lions on track for their first playoff berth in what seems like forever.

Stafford distributes the ball around to his plethora of weapons. While they don’t have the Packers’ depth, it’s still a plenty potent offense with Stafford at the helm.

With his strong arm, Stafford can make all the throws. That said, he still tries to force the ball to his big receivers. The Packers will need to take advantage of that if they want to win tomorrow.

WR Calvin Johnson

Megatron has definitely earned his nickname. Whenever the ball is thrown his direction, he usually comes down with it.

Johnson’s size and overall power are a nightmare for any defender. Given the Packers’ recent struggles with communication in the secondary, Johnson could singlehandedy take over the game.

DT Ndamukong Suh

Dirty player or not, Suh as emerged as one of the best defenders in the league in just his second year. Though he has been warned by Commissioner Roger Goodell for being too rough, Suh still plays with fire.

He is nearly unblockable. He has beat double teams all year and Suh will have Aaron Rodgers on the run most of the day if the offensive line can’t contain him. Rodgers has been getting hit far too often and won’t need the reminder that he suffered a concussion at this stadium last year.

Three matchups to watch

Rodgers vs Stafford

Not since Week One when Drew Brees arrived in Green Bay will anyone have seen an aerial duel like this. It’s fully possible both QBs could combine for over 800 yards. The Lions offense has proven to be one of the few that can seemingly keep pace with the Packers.

Suh vs the Packers offensive line

Rodgers has been hit a lot lately and while it hasn’t thrown him off his torrid pace yet, he hasn’t faced a player like Suh this season.

Thanks to his quick release and mobility, Rodgers can win this battle. That said, his protection has to hold. He cant make plays if he is on the ground before even surveying the field.

Calvin Johnson vs the Packers secondary

If the Packers indeed have communication problems in the secondary, they had better be fixed for this game.

Luckily for the Packers defense, they go up against a fairly lethal unit in the own offense everyday in practice. They should be prepared for what the Lions throw at them.

Johnson likely will try to draw favorable matchups by having Charles Woodson and Tramon Williams line up against someone else. Johnson has lately developed a method of staying quiet in the first half and then coming alive late after letting defenses think they shut them down.

Prediction
Packers 27 Lions 24 in OT

The Lions have to win this game if they want any shot T the division. A loss would put them four back with five to play which has no margin of error.

The Packers meanwhile will look to avenge the stinker they put up last year when Rodgers suffered his concussion. A win would also likely clinch a playoff berth.

It says here Rodgers has more magic than Stafford as the Packers survive their biggest scare to date in their quest for a perfect season.

Enjoy the game and your Thanksgiving holiday.

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Kris Burke is a sports writer covering the Green Bay Packers for AllGreenBayPackers.com and WTMJ in Milwaukee. He is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) and his work has been linked to by sites such as National Football Post and CBSSports.com. Follow @KrisLBurke

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10 Responses to “2011 NFL Season Week 12: Green Bay Packers vs Detroit Lions Preview: A Bump In The Road To Perfection?”

  1. Dan says:

    We will find out tomorrow what the Packers are made of. This will be the best defense they faced all year and the crowd noise won’t help the matter. The O-line better play thier best game. After watching the Packers under achieving D and shaky O-line this year, I’m can’t help but to think this will be the 1st loss of the season. Maybe even a but kicking by the Lions. BUT, there’s something about this Packers team that just keeps winning, especially when they feel thier backs are against the wall. Tomorrow will be a dog fight. This will be the Lions team that showed up on Monday night this year against the bears. If the O-line can hold up the Pack wins. Go Pack!

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    • Oppy says:

      I don’t know about the Lions being the best defense the Packers have faced this year- I’ll give you the best defensive line they’ve faced, but not the best defense.

      That said, I have to wonder if Coach McCarthy will help out his RBs and QB by actually calling plays that help take some of the stress off the offensive line.

      It often feels to me that MM stubbornly refuses to allow a particularly effective pass rush to in any way dictate how he calls games. If the O line is getting whupped, and Rodgers is running for his life, taking hits, or getting sacked frequently, I sincerely hope MM starts running the go-to plays for most coaches across the league- draws, screens, and misdirection.

      Jersey Al, how about this being the week we finally see Cobb on a reverse or counter out of the backfield?? We can dream, can’t we?

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      • Jersey Al Jersey Al says:

        Oppy, you read my mind. Lions may be the best DL, but not the best defense. And yes, I too want to see the screens, draws, etc. But a reverse? As you know, I’ve been dreaming along with you since Cobb got drafted – but MM doesn’t seem to care about us…

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  2. GalaxyM81 says:

    In 62, everyone was thinking the Packers were just going to roll the lions. This time around, I think everyone is thinking the lions will win, but we may still get a surprize with a GB victory.

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  3. Dan says:

    Name the better defence that the Pack has played this year? I’m not saying the Lions are great, but at home, they’re good and will be pumped tomorrow. The lions were the no1 D in the NFC going into last weeks games and no 4 against the pass in the whole NFL. I hope Arod shreads them, its all up to the O-line.

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  4. Dan says:

    And I agree, if Rodgers is getting to much pressure, I hope MM changes up the play calling. More 3 step drops, quick slants, draws, dump offs, screens, ect…..I hope Starks can go, the chink in the lions D is stopping the run. If the pack can get a running game going to take pressure of Aaron, , the Packs wins, But then there’s our D? They have to make some stops.

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  5. Dan says:

    My comment was that this will the best D we played so far, when the pack played Chicago, their D wasn’t playing as good early in the season. They are playing better now. In my opinion tomorrow should be the toughest test so far. Games are won and lost in the trenches, Detroit has the best D trench. The pack will have there hands full protecting Rodgers. And the Packs D will have there hands full also, if they play the way they have been all year. The Pack needs to bring there A game. I know that’s obvious. This maybe the most rounded team the Pack has played all year The Bears were not a well rounded team when we played them, they are now though. I hope the Packers wins by 30!

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  6. Chad Lundberg says:

    Should be an interesting game, but I can’t shake that feeling that everyone seems to be confusing the idea that the Lions are a BETTER team with the idea that the Lions are one of the BEST teams.

    If the Lions are better than say, the Giants or Saints, I don’t think it’s by a whole lot.

    Green Bay’s defense has under-performed this season, to put it lightly. But come on, Johnson is easily HALF that offense, and if the Packers just contain him, I can see a blowout.

    Yes, I know Stafford threw five touchdowns without throwing one to Johnson last week, but against who? At home against the Panthers??? Fluke.

    Detroit can put up anywhere between say, 20-26 points. Packers will easily DOUBLE that.

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  7. Dan says:

    Chad, I agree , I’m probably over thinking this game. I agree that the Packers are the better team. I guess I’m just concerned with what I’ve been witnessing in the trenches this year with the Pack. We can not hit home with our 4 man rush, and the O-line has thier issues, that’s all I’m saying in all my posts here. Games are typically won and lost in the trenches. It’s football 101. I have concerns about the Packs trenches . They just are not as physical as educated observer would like to see. Especially on defence. That being said , an Elite QB can make up for a lot of deficiencies. And That we Have…. Go Pack!

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