The Lions defense hasn’t exactly been itself lately. While they’re getting pressure on the passer and playing extremely sticky coverage downfield, they haven’t been themselves when it comes to stopping the run, which was their hallmark in 2018.
Damon Harrison Sr. hasn’t been playing at as high of a level (although, he’s still playing objectively well), and the absence of Da’Shawn Hand thus far in the season has left the Lions relying on rookie defensive tackle Kevin Strong. In order for the Lions to be successful Monday night, they’ll need the defensive line to step it up.
Bold prediction of the week: Lions hold Packers to <80 rushing yards
This outcome will be equally reliant on the offense as it will be on the defense, believe it or not. It all starts with a hot start—something the Lions have done much more frequently this year. If they can get Aaron Rodgers and the Packers playing from behind early, they’ll be in a much better position to anticipate what the Packers offense will hold.
On the defensive side, it’ll necessitate a renaissance performance from Snacks Harrison. Aaron Jones tore apart the Dallas Cowboys last week to the tune of 107 rushing yards and four touchdowns, and the Lions will have to keep him from hitting his groove early in the game.
Last week, an early lead forced the Cowboys to abandon their offensive identity and play from behind, and their defense had no answer as the Packers ran it up their gut all game.
For the Lions, keeping even or ahead of the Packers i will be a major key to keeping their play calling balanced. Shutting down the run will enable the defensive line to pin their ears back and keep the Packers from utilizing that rushing attack. It all sounds great on paper, but whether or not it gets done we’ll find out on Monday night.