FanPost

On Paper: Lions vs. Packers


Abbreviated version, because it's a short week and it's a holiday....and we're screwed.

 

On Paper is a weekly segment where I take a look at the Lions' weekly matchup and dissect each unit. At the end of each unit summary, instead of giving a typical "Advantage Lions" or "Advantage Opponent", I award one of the teams with a point value of 1-5 (or give it a draw). These point values are based both on talent and the influence that this unit matchup will have on the game outcome.

Lions Pass Offense (18th) vs. Packers Pass Defense (7th)

Opponent

Opponent's

Passing YPG

Passing Yards vs. Packers

Opponent's

Season QB Rating

QB Rating vs. Packers

Bears

240.0

266

74.4

43.2

Bengals

207.8

185

87.2

93.3

Rams

185.6

187

71.0

76.7

Vikings

249.1

271

112.3

135.3

Lions

213.3

105

64.6

16.7

Browns

135.4

99

51.1

36.4

Vikings

249.1

244

112.3

128.6

Bucs

169.8

205

61.1

86.1

Cowboys

249.6

251

91.5

78.0

49ers

179.5

227

80.3

88.8

The Packers must have voodoo dolls of Calvin Johnson and Matthew Stafford.  The last time the two teams met, both players were out with injury.  This week, when the two meet on Thanksgiving, it looks like they will both be out again. 

As we can see, without Stafford and Megatron, the Packers defense completely dominated the Lions.  Daunte Culpepper and Drew Stanton combined for three interceptions and failed to put one point on the board as the Lions got shut out 26-0. 

Outside of their previous matchup, the Packers have been a solid against the pass.  They have held nearly every quarterback they've faced (that's not named Brett Favre) to a low QB rating (ranked 7th in QB rating against). 

However, the Packers, too, have some significant injuries.  Cornerback Al Harris and linebacker Aaron Kampman were lost last week for the entire season. Both players contributed heavily to the pass defense, as Harris had two interceptions and five passes defended, while Kampman provided pass rush (3.5 sacks on the season). 

However, without their two best offensive players, there's not much hope for this matchup.  Charles Woodson is still too good, and Detroit has little depth at the receiver position.  I would expect numbers very similar to the previous matchup.  Packers +3.

Lions Run Offense (25th)  vs. Packers Run Defense (4th)

Opponent

Opponent's

Rushing YPG

Rushing Yards vs. Packers

Opponent's Season Avg YPC

YPC vs. Packers

Bears

89.3

86

4.0

2.8

Bengals

127.8

151

4.0

4.4

Rams

119.3

149

4.6

4.5

Vikings

126.2

63

4.2

2.1

Lions

98.5

78

3.9

4.3

Browns

101.4

58

3.7

2.8

Vikings

126.2

111

4.2

3.5

Bucs

100.7

81

4.2

3.2

Cowboys

132.3

61

5.0

4.4

49ers

99.0

69

4.5

6.9

The Packers have held their past seven opponents well below their season rushing yard average.  This includes the week six matchup, in which the Packers held Kevin Smith to 61 yards on 15 carries.  Though the Lions exceeded their average yards per carry in that game, they didn't run the ball much because they were behind early in that game. 

Smith has yet to shake off his early struggles in the season.  He has not surpassed 70 rushing yards in a game since week three.   He has proven himself as a valuable receiving option, but his running ability is still under question. 

Because I expect the Lions to fall behind early again in this game, I don't see this matchup having much of an effect on the game.  I'd be surprised to see the Lions attempt more than 20 rushes this game, therefore it is a non-factor.  Draw.

Packers Pass Offense (7th) vs. Lions Pass Defense (32nd)

Opponent

Opponent's Passing YPG Allowed

Passing Yards Allowed vs. Packers

Opponent's Season QB Rating Against

QB Rating Allowed vs. Packers

Bears

197.8

184

88.0

92.0

Bengals

226.2

261

77.5

83.4

Rams

238.7

269

94.7

126.9

Vikings

231.5

384

89.1

110.6

Lions

275.3

358

110.3

113.7

Browns

247.1

246

93.7

155.4

Vikings

231.5

287

89.1

108.5

Bucs

209.4

266

94.0

57.6

Cowboys

229.3

189

86.4

91.1

49ers

256.1

344

80.3

108.8

If there were any doubters that the Lions have worst pass defense in the league (maybe in history), they are now gone after Brady Quinn and Cleveland's worst-ranked passing offense put up 4 TDs and a 133.1 passer rating against them. 

Meanwhile, the Packers have beaten their opponents' defensive averages nine out of ten weeks, in terms of passer rating.  Aaron Rodgers is fourth in the league in passer rating (102.6).

There's really no point in analyzing this any further.  Rodgers lit up the Lions last time they faced, and the Lions' secondary has actually gotten worse since because of injuries.  If you have Aaron Rodgers on your fantasy team, play him and bench everyone else.  You'll still win by 100 points.  Packers +5.

Packers Run Offense (11th) vs. Lions Run Defense (20th)

Opponent

Opponent's Rushing YPG Allowed

Rushing Yards Allowed vs. Packers

Opponent's Avg YPC Allowed

YPC Allowed vs. Packers

Bears

122.3

76

4.3

3.5

Bengals

84.3

89

3.8

4.9

Rams

146.4

152

4.7

4.1

Vikings

85.5

82

3.9

4.8

Lions

116.2

107

4.5

3.6

Browns

154.9

202

4.6

4.9

Vikings

85.5

90

3.9

4.7

Bucs

168.9

170

4.9

5.3

Cowboys

100.6

105

4.1

3.8

49ers

94.7

158

3.5

4.9

When the two teams met in week six, I talked about how Ryan Grant wasn't getting things done.  Since then, he's averaged 95 yards per game, and 4.7 a carry.  He's quietly bumped himself up to 9th in the league in rushing yards.    

These numbers are slightly inflated because in that time, the Packers have played some weak opponents.  As the chart shows, the Packers are actually performing very close to the averages of the opponents, in terms of YPG allowed. 

Detroit's run defense is equally mediocre.  The biggest issue with their defense is giving up big plays.  Detroit has given up the third most runs of over 20 yards (13).  Fortunately for Detroit, Grant does not have a run of over 40 yards this season, and only has five of over 20 yards. 

I expect Green Bay to run the ball a lot after getting a big lead.  Grant will likely get around 30 carries and end up with around 110-120 yards overall.  That'll be enough to run out the clock effectively, but it won't be the deciding factor in the game.  Packers +1.

Special Teams

Sorry, it's a short holiday week.  Special teams gets the axe.  Last time I called this matchup a draw, so I'm going to call it a draw again.

Overall

Packers +9.  It's probably actually worse than that.  Detroit has a ton of injuries on both sides of the ball and in crucial positions.  The Packers are a much better team than their 6-4 record suggests.  They rank 11th or higher in all facets of the game.  Their four losses were to pretty decent teams: Minnesota, Minnesota, Cincinatti......um....Tampa.  However, in that Tampa game, the Packers actually dominated the Bucs in yardage.  The only reason they lost that game was because of turnovers and a blocked punt. 

Stafford was gracious enough on Sunday to provide an incredibly entertaining game.  That proved to be enough of a distraction for the media to not bombard us with stories about taking the Lions off Thanksgiving for the billionth year in a row.  Unfortunately, after Thursday's game, I'm sure writers all over the world will be beating that drum once again. 

My advice, Lions fans: If you love spending time with your family, spend most of Thanksgiving with them and occasionally check in on the game.  If you hate your family, spend most of Thanksgiving with them and occasionally check in on the game.  And be thankful for last week (I've watched that video ten times now, no exaggeration).  31-6 Packers.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Pride Of Detroit or its writers.

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