The Detroit Lions are dressing like their team from 60 years ago, and they’re poised to play like a championship caliber team, too.
After the Lions beat the Packers 34-20 on “Thursday Night Football” in September, the teams have gone in opposite directions. For the Lions, it was yet another confirmation of their legitimacy on a national stage. For the Packers, it was evidence that the Week 3 heroics by Jordan Love were a fluke, rather than a sign of things to come. The Lions have since cemented themselves as one of the top teams in the league while the Packers have been left in disarray.
Bold prediction of the week: Lions beat Packers by 3 possessions on Thanksgiving
It sure looked like the Week 4 matchup between these teams was headed this way when the Lions jumped out to a 24-3 lead by the second quarter. The Packers fought to stay in it, while the Lions ran the ball down their throats and milked the clock for what felt like all of the second half.
This time around, the Lions are well-equipped to put the Packers down early and keep them there. As you may recall, once the Lions climbed out to their early Week 4 lead, it quickly became the David Montgomery show. He would rush the ball 32 times(!!!) that night, with the rest of the offense accounting for just 11 carries. In fact, once you factor in the passing game, Montgomery would end up on the receiving end of 34 of the team’s 62 offensive touches.
I’m happy to report that if the last two weeks are any indication, Montgomery has not lost a step since then. To make matters worse for the Packers, Jahmyr Gibbs is evolving into what the Lions front office envisioned him being, and then some. If Week 4 was a rough outing for the Packers against the Lions run game, Thanksgiving is going to be torture.
Then there’s what’s going on with the Packers. They’re in disarray, with Jordan Love showing lots of growing pains (but not growing very much), and somehow they’re not even as good as their 4-6 record indicates:
The Packers are the luckiest team in football and they're 4-6. https://t.co/LvAm9C5jML— Jeremy Reisman (@DetroitOnLion) November 21, 2023
To make matters worse, they’re entering Thursday’s game with a laundry list of injuries. Star running back Aaron Jones suffered an MCL sprain Sunday and will miss Thursday’s game. Backup AJ Dillon, who mustered just 2.2 yards per carry against the Lions in Week 4, is questionable to play. On defense, the Packers have already ruled out safety Darnell Savage, while CB Jaire Alexander and LB De’Vondre Campbell are both questionable. That means the floodgates are open for a signature Jared Goff game, and we know Goff loves a home crowd for those.
It’s a perfect storm for the Lions to handle their business early against the Packers. Once they do so, the Green Bay Packers will be introduced to a mean man named Jahmyr Gibbs. I anticipate a bloodbath, and I’ve got the Lions by three scores when it’s all said and done.