From 1992 to 2014 the Green Bay Packers defeated the Detroit Lions in every game played in Wisconsin. That streak of dominance came to an end last year when the Lions squeaked out an 18-16 victory at Lambeau Field. Despite that recent blip, the Lions are a team the Packers should defeat at home. Unfortunately, things in Green Bay are not as certain they used to be.
After struggling to vanquish the Jacksonville Jaguars in the season opener, the Packers travelled to Minnesota and had one of their most inept offensive performances in years. With all due credit to the Vikings‘ terrific defense, they had some help from the other sideline. Indeed, Pro Football Focus ranked Aaron Rodgers’ performance as the worst of his career. This was yet another poor-to-mediocre performance for the Packers offense over the last calendar year.
You have to believe the offense will start clicking again at some point. For all of his struggles, Rodgers is still one of the most physically gifted quarterback in the NFL. Not too many (if any) signal callers can heave a ball 60 yards while falling backwards – as Rodgers did against the Arizona Cardinals in the playoffs last season. Jordy Nelson is also back and getting closer to 100% each week, so there is no excuse for the whole of the offense to be less than the sum of its parts.
So when will the offense start clicking again? It’s only Week 3, so there is still plenty of time to work out the litany of kinks. However, this Sunday’s game against Detroit is a crucial litmus test for the Packers. The Lions currently rank #24 in the NFL in pass defense. They’ll also be without defensive end Ezekiel Anash, their best pass rusher. Rodgers should have ample time to sit in the pocket and pick apart of soft secondary. If the offense does not show more oomph against the defense then it might be a lacking unit.
On the other side of the ball, Detroit running back Ameer Abdullah was placed on the Injured Reserve earlier this week. Abdullah is an incredible talent who played a crucial role in the Detroit’s 2015 victory at Lambeau Field by returning the second half kicking for 104 yards, eventually leading to a Lions touchdown. In addition, Green Bay’s defense has been a shining light this season. Without Abdullah the Lions will have additional trouble moving the ball, which should benefit the Packers offense by giving them more time of possession.
All of this is to day that the Packers offense should look more like a Packers offense on Sunday. They are playing a favorable opponent at a favorable location, so scoring 30 points should be expected. Of course, this is based on the assumption that Rodgers & Co. are simply in a funk and “will get things cleaned up.” (As Mike McCarthy is fond of saying.) But if the offense struggles against Detroit like they did in 2015 then the offense just might be fundamentally broken. Let’s hope the Packers score a lot of points on Sunday.