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Saturday, December 11, 2010

Packers vs. Lions Preview

Roberto Ruiz-Maki

The Green Bay Packers are traveling to Michigan to face the cellar-dwelling Detroit Lions this Sunday at noon. This game is expected to be an easy win for the Pack, even though this is considered a classic “trap” game with three tough games coming up (Patriots, Giants, and Bears). They have to win this game to remain in the playoff hunt, and they should leave Detroit with a victory if they accomplish these five things:
Limit Ndamukong Suh
Suh is the front-runner for defensive rookie of the year, and the 6'4" 310 pound behemoth has been wreaking terror on quarterbacks all year. Suh has been flagged several times for unnecessary roughness, which on the surface makes it seem like he is hurting the team, but in reality it makes every quarterback flinch every time he collapses the pocket. Daryn Colledge, Josh Sitton, and Scott Wells are going to have their hands full this game; don't worry too much though, they have been solid all year.
Frustrate Calvin Johnson
Dom Capers is not the kind of coordinator to change his strategy for one player. That is why when the 6'5” athletic freak that is known as Calvin Johnson lines up, our defense will look the same as it always does. Tramon Williams is considered one of the best cover cornerbacks in the league, and when Charles Woodson isn't on Johnson, he will have to prove it. Woodson, reigning defensive player of the year, has helped negate Johnson in their past meetings.
It's Raji Time
B.J. Raji should be on his way to Hawaii this year for his first appearance in the Pro Bowl. Raji has been a force inside, even though he is always double or triple-teamed. The Lions offensive line is weak, and the Packers are going to need to spend most of the day in the backfield in order to disrupt the speedy Jahvid Best.
Take Away the Big Play
The Lions offense is built around the big play. Best is always dangerous, but because of his offensive line he rarely has anywhere to go. However, when he has gotten free he has shown the ability to turn a good play into a great one. Drew Stanton is young and can't win a football game by himself, but he can throw a decent deep ball; all he needs to do is throw it in the direction of Johnson, and he will often make a big-time play.
A Stark of Fire
James Starks showed last week that he has the potential to be a reliable back. He had been on injured reserve before last week, and hopefully he can build off of his 73 yard performance against a Lions defense that is ranked 25th in opposing rushing yards.
Predicted Score: 35-17 Packers.

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