The Lions dropped the ball in their 23-10 loss to Baltimore. Some fans found solace knowing they still have a chance at making it into the playoffs, while others are already looking ahead to next year. The good thing is that Matt Stafford has been playing like a beast lately and we might be able to get some more production out of him again soon.
The Detroit Lions won their first game in four straight seasons, ending the team’s longest losing streak. The win was a moment of joy for many fans, who began to feel hope that this might be the year they finally break free from mediocrity.
The “247 det lions” is a good thing for the Detroit Lions. It was a meaningless game, but it still meant something to them. The team’s fans were able to celebrate in victory and share their moment with friends and family.
Is it possible to find significance in something that, in the end, had no meaning? You can bet that Green Bay Packers head coach Matt LaFleur and his team will try to make sense of their Week 18 setback to the Detroit Lions as they prepare for the playoffs.
It wasn’t a game that mattered to Green Bay since the No. 1 seed was already secured. When winning the Super Bowl is the ultimate aim, finishing the season at 13-4 rather than 14-3 is a little pointless.
Still, the Packers can learn from this game (both good and bad).
Good: Allen Lazard has developed into a capable No. 2 quarterback for the Green Bay Packers.
Aaron Rodgers’ go-to target will always be Davante Adams, particularly when the pressure is on. With that in mind, Green Bay’s attack becomes incredibly difficult to stop when another receiver is dangerous enough to divert attention away from Adams, and Allen Lazard is swiftly assuming that position.
All season, the position of genuine No. 2 has been in flux, with guys like Randall Cobb and Marquez Valdes-Scantling moving up at various times. But, as of late, Lazard has managed to cement himself as a reliable target for Rodgers, and that trend should continue into the playoffs.
He grabbed five catches for 75 yards and two scores against the Lions, his third game in a row catching a touchdown throw from Rodgers. He had a total of eight touchdown receptions throughout the regular season.
Lazard, who stands 6-foot-5 and weighs 227 pounds, is a big guy that the Packers like to employ as a lead blocker out on the edges. He’s also generally quite sure-handed, and he’s faster than you’d think from a receiver of his height. Lazard is developing into an all-around receiver for the Packers, from route running to the ability to go up and make a grab.
He’s carved out a significant role for himself in Green Bay, and the Packers will rely on him to keep playing well.
David Bakhtiari was able to get rid of some rust.
During the first half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers offensive lineman David Bakhtiari (69) is seen | Jorge Lemus/NurPhoto via Getty Images
David Bakhtiari, an All-Pro left tackle, hadn’t played since late December of 2020. He tore his ACL in practice a little more than a year ago and hadn’t played since.
Bakhtiari played his first action in almost a year against Detroit after being reinstated off the Packers’ PUP list in the middle of the season. Bakhtiari had waited a long time for this moment. He underwent reconstructive knee surgery a year ago, but had to follow it up with arthroscopic surgery to clean things up in late November.
It hasn’t been an easy journey. To be honest, his ability to participate at all this season was in doubt. He had been training with the squad for a few weeks but had been experiencing setback after setback.
With that in mind, it was fantastic to see Bakhtiari take on Detroit and knock off some rust. Perhaps more importantly for the Packers, he went out and played against a genuine NFL pass rush without re-injuring himself.
The following few days will reveal if Rodgers has any residual discomfort from his first day back on the job, but due to the top seed’s first-round bye, the Packers will be able to give him plenty of time to get back into game form.
The Packers fought so hard to obtain it because of this, as well as home-field advantage.
Good: A.J. Dillon seems to be in playoff shape.
During the first quarter at Ford Field, Green Bay Packers #28 A.J. Dillon runs the ball against the Detroit Lions | Rey Del Rio/Getty Images
A.J. Dillon, Green Bay’s running back, will be a key element of the Packers’ postseason strategy. Being able to turn around and hand the ball off to the 247-pound sledgehammer is a significant benefit for the Packers when it comes to home-field advantage.
When the weather becomes frigid, no opponent wants to come to Lambeau Field. When defenders look across the line of scrimmage and see Dillon barreling down on them with a head of steam, the job gets much more difficult.
Although Dillon did not score against the Lions, he did carry for 63 yards on 14 attempts (4.5 yards per attempt). He found a couple great holes and dropped forward on practically every carry, as he normally did.
With Dillon and Aaron Jones (who was rested against Detroit), the Packers have a true one-two punch in the backfield. Imagine being a defense who has to race to the edge to attempt to stop Jones on an outside run or as a pass receiver, only to return the following play to defend a Dillon up-the-middle dive.
When the Packers use them properly and concentrate on the run, they’re a genuine two-headed monster. That will most likely be the case against whomever the Packers face in the playoffs.
Bad: Against Detroit, the Packers’ defensive discipline was atrocious.
The defeat to Detroit is meaningless, but there are two plays in particular from that loss that will keep LaFleur awake for the next week.
The first was a late-first-quarter reverse wide receiver ball that found Detroit’s Kalif Raymond wide open down the sideline for a score. Even though the Packers had many starters in the game at the time, they were entirely engrossed in the backfield action and handed up an easy 75-yard score.
In the second half, the Lions went back to their trickery and tricked Green Bay once again. The Lions ran a reversal on 1st-and-10 from the Green Bay 36 early in the third quarter, but this time the ball went back to Jared Goff for a flea-flicker. The Packers lost their focus once again, allowing tight end Brock Wright to slip into the secondary for another wide-open touchdown reception.
“Defense, and football in general, is about discipline and individuals taking ownership of their jobs. And awful things happen when you’re not disciplined or go outside the strategy,” LaFleur said after the game, plainly irritated. According to Zach Kruse of PackersWire, this is the case. “That’s something we can’t have.” We need all 11 players to show up and execute their jobs. And if they don’t, bad things happen.”
Two botched coverages against two trick plays deep in Detroit’s playbook shouldn’t be too concerning in the context of one meaningless game. With that said, Green Bay will receive every team’s best shot from now on, and the Packers have plainly revealed a discipline problem in terms of following the football rather than playing responsibilities.
Over the next two weeks, defensive coordinator Joe Barry can pound it into his guys, but it’s also something other offensive coordinators will take notice of.
Despite a disappointing conclusion to the season, the Packers remain the top team in the NFC. They’re the monarchs of the NFC North, and they’re also the kings of the league right now.
If you’re going after the king, you can’t afford to miss. These two plays against Detroit, however, gave at least one possibility for the Packers to be exposed in the playoffs.
ESPN and Pro Football Reference provided the statistics.
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The “packers vs lions 2020” is a game that will be played on the 23rd of October. The “3 good things and 1 not so great thing from meaningless loss to Detroit Lions” is a blog post about how the Lions are looking for their first win in 2019.
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