The Green Bay Packers are back in action this week after their bye. They head to Detroit to face the Lions for just the first time in 2012. The Lions are coming off a loss to the Minnesota Vikings and have battled inconsistency all season. They have yet to beat a division opponent and are 0-3 against the North so far.
In looking at a breakdown of the key matchups, it is much of the same old story. Stop either team’s passing attack and you likely win this game. Here are the areas to watch as Sunday’s game unfolds.
Lions WR Calvin Johnson vs. Packers CB Tramon Williams
This is becoming an old rivalry. Since taking over as a starting corner in 2009, Williams has been blanketing Johnson in each matchup. Minus last season’s finale when the Packers sat many of their starters, Johnson hasn’t had any more than six receptions in a game in which Williams matched up on him. He did have a two-touchdown game in 2010 and the Packers struggled to contain him in that contest. They can’t afford to allow Johnson to take over on Sunday.
While Williams will surely have help over the top, I am featuring him in this section because he will play the most vital role in keeping Johnson from becoming a quick and easy target. A receiver of Johnson’s stature has been a problem for the Packers in seasons past and when tackling was an issue. Any success with the quick slant could spell problems in trying to keep Detroit in long down and distance. Johnson is also a matchup nightmare at the goal line and with the jump ball.
Williams has re-emerged thus far in 2012 and is playing more like the corner we saw in 2010 when he broke out and became key defensive contributor. With the success that he has had vs. Johnson over the years, I expect Tramon to come into Sunday’s game confident that he can continue that trend.