If the Detroit Lions want to leave Green Bay with a win, they’re going to have to take advantage of the things they do well and expose the Packers’ weaknesses.
The Lions aren’t going to give away their game plan, outside of coach Dan Campbell letting the media know they’ll be prepared for the field conditions with the proper equipment, or DeShon Elliott preaching about how they’re motivated by Aaron Rodgers being disrespectful. We at POD do our best to highlight the keys to victory in our weekly Honolulu Blueprint and On Paper breakdowns, but every so often, a unique stat shows up that’s worth taking note of.
For this game, the good folks over at NFL’s Next Gen Stats distributed a video breaking down the top three mismatches of Week 18, and the Lions were one of the featured teams.
In the video, NGS points to the Lions frequent use of play action and Jared Goff’s success with it. Since Week 9 (the last time these two teams faced off), the Lions have used play action on 30.4% of their passes, good for eighth in the NFL over that time. When using play action over that same time period, Goff has a NGC Passing Score of 98 (out of 99), which is the best score in the NFL.
Meanwhile, Green Bay is one of the worst teams in defending play action per NGS. On play action passes, the Packers are allowing on average 10.1 yards per pass, which ranks 31st in the NFL. Additionally, they allow an additional +2.3% completion percentage over expectation, which is 23rd worst in the NFL.
Goff has been incredibly efficient over the last six weeks, and as pointed out by the Lions PR department: he ranks first in passer rating (113.0), interceptions (0), and passing TDs (12), then ranks second in yards per attempt (8.11), passing first downs (82), and 25+ yard passes (12), as well as third in passing yards (1,532).
Look for offensive coordinator Ben Johnson to dial up some play action and let Goff cook in Lambeau.
From @NextGenStats:— Erik Schlitt (@erikschlitt) January 8, 2023
The #Lions and Jared Goff have one huge mismatch over Packers this week —> pic.twitter.com/FHNrUmnUtF