The Detroit Lions have had their fair share of season finale matchups against the Packers over the last few years. If we’ve learned one thing from them, it’s that the Lions always play hard in them, especially if they’re meaningless. Sunday’s matchup is setting up to the be a repeat of those season finale classics against the Packers.
Bold prediction of the week: Lions rush for 175+ yards against Packers
There’s a lot playing into why this may or may not happen, beginning with last week’s embarrassment against the Seahawks. Given the build of this team/roster, I don’t think many of us expected that the Lions would lean towards their backup quarterback, as opposed to the run game, when Tim Boyle had to play. However, that’s exactly what happened.
What’s going to be different this week? For starters, Penei Sewell and Taylor Decker are both returning from the COVID list, although Sewell is still questionable to play with other ailments. The last time Sewell and Decker took the field together after time apart, the Lions rushed for 229 yards against the Pittsburgh Steelers, led by their converted safety and their seventh-round rookie running back. This week, the Lions are slated to have a full backfield with D’Andre Swift, Jamaal Williams, and Craig Reynolds, which has been a rare occurrence this season.
Who’s under center against the Packers is still up in the air, with Jared Goff trying to push though his latest injury to play in Sunday’s finale. Regardless of whether it’s a hampered Jared Goff or Tim Boyle, either scenario should prompt the Lions to lean into the ground game so long as the Lions don’t find themselves in a big hole early like they did last week in Seattle.
It’s entirely possible this team falls apart, too. With Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams slated to start, the Packers could mount a big lead early. Likewise, if Sewell doesn’t play, we could see a disaster of a run game that we saw last week, with a large portion of the team’s 92 rushing yards coming after contact. However, it’s Week 18 and a meaningless game for the Lions, and you know what that means—anything can happen.