Last week on Thursday Night Football, we got the New York Giants at the San Francisco 49ers, which turned out to be a snooze fest, with a final score of 30-12 in favor of the 49ers. This week, in Week 4, we get a much more exciting matchup with the Detroit Lions playing at the Green Bay Packers. Both teams are 2-1 and sit atop the NFC North. Both teams are already far ahead of the Minnesota Vikings and the Chicago Bears who are both sitting at 0-3. The Lions are favored by 1.5, but I’m going to break it down for you in this preview of Thursday Night Football.
Detroit Lions (2-1)
In the first two weeks of the season the Lions have beaten the reigning Super Champion Kansas City Chiefs (in KC) but lost an overtime game to the Seattle Seahawks. However, they had a convincing win last week against the Atlanta Falcons, beating them 20-6. The Lions very well could be looking at 3-0 if they could have closed out Week Two against the ‘Hawks. Jared Goff has been efficient for the Motor City Kitties,
completing 70% of his passes for 819 yards with 5 TDs, 2 INTs, and a Rating of 101.6. Running Back David Montgomery is expected to be limited this week coming back from a thigh injury, which means Jahmyr Gibbs will be handed the rock often against a Packers defense that ranks 27th in rushing yards allowed. Wide Receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown has been a stud in his first three weeks racking up 21 receptions for 275 yards and a TD. Second to St. Brown is rookie Tight End Sam LaPorta with 18 receptions for 186 yards and a TD, but not be forgotten is WR Josh Reynolds with seven receptions for 121 and two TDs.
Detroit’s defense has been solid against the rush, giving up the fifth best rushing yards in the NFL with 72 yards per game. Their passing D hasn’t been as good, ranking 19th and giving up 225 yards per game, however they did go up against Patrick Mahomes with the Chiefs and the pass-heavy Seahawks. Aidan Hutchinson has been dynamic in the first few weeks recording two sacks, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery. The Lions as a defensive unit have recorded eight total sacks but are losing the turnover battle only having one INT and one fumble recovery on the season.
Green Bay Packers (2-1)
The Packers have had an easier start to the season than the Lions have. They blew out the Bears in Week One, 38-20, but then lost the following week in Atlanta (who the Lions defeated handedly) by a score of 25-24. Last week…they should have lost. Let’s be honest, they were losing against the New Orleans Saints until Derek Carr was injured, and then they won by one point by a score of 18-17. Before getting hurt Carr was 13 of 18 (72%) and a TD, and Winston replaced him completing only 10 of 16 (62%). The Pack very well could be 1-2, while the Lions could be 3-0. Jordan Love has been better than expected by throwing seven
TDs and only one INT, however he’s completing only 53% of his passes for 655 yards, and a Rating of 94. Running Back Aaron Jones is coming back from an injury and will be limited. AJ Dillon has been rushing for only 2.7 yards per carry. Christian Watson hasn’t played a game yet due to injury and he will be limited coming into tonight’s game as well. Green Bay’s best Wide Receiver is Romeo Doubbs with 11 receptions for 129 yards and 3 TDs, and Tight End Luke Musgrave who also has 11 receptions for 124 yards and zero TDs. Wide Receiver Jayden Reed will also be in the mix, and he has nine receptions with 148 yards and two TDs in three games.
The Packers defense has been great against the pass, giving up an average of only 200 yards per game, which ranks 10th in the NFL, and they have a +2 takeaway differential. However, their rushing defense ranks 27th in the league against the run, which is what the Pack are going to have to stop against the Lions tonight. Green Bay also has a ton of injuries coming into this game, being without their starting Left Tackle David Bakhtiari, Left Guard Elgton Jenkins, and Left Inside Linebacker De’Vondre Campbell. Their starting Right Tackle Zack Tom, and Cornerback Jaire Alexander are both questionable to play as well.
The Packers Offensive line is banged up, and their big playmakers aren’t at 100%. Even though the Lions defense ranks 19th in passing yards allowed per game, the Pack is going to have a hard time getting down
the field with Aidan Hutchinson all over Love. Rookies Jack Campbell and Brian Branch are going to be two others on the Lions defense to watch out for. If the Lions’ gameplan is on point, they will come out running the ball, and then strike with paly action passes to St. Brown and LaPorta. If they can hang onto the ball (three lost fumbles in three games), they will win this game easily to take a 3-1 record to the top of the NFC North, and just about guarantee themselves a playoff spot. Final Score: Lions 30, Packers 16. Thanks for the “read”!