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Discussion: Are the Packers or Rams a better 1st-round opponent for Lions?

If the Detroit Lions earn the 3rd seed in the NFC, they’ll face the Rams or Packers in the playoffs. Which is a better playoff matchup for Detroit?

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions are headed for the postseason, and their options for first-round opponents is narrowing. We now know that the Lions will finish with either the NFC’s second or third seed, meaning they’ll face the conference’s sixth or seventh seed in the Wild Card round.

But all things considered, it is looking extremely likely that Detroit will finish with the three seed. In order for them to jump to two, they’ll not only need to beat a Vikings team fighting for their postseason lives, but they need the Cowboys to lose as 13.5-point favorites to the Commanders and for the Eagles—currently five-point favorites—to lose to the Giants.

So let’s just assume right now that the Lions will carry the third seed into the postseason. If that’s the case, the Lions will face one of two opponents: the Rams or the Packers. If the Rams win (vs. 49ers) or the Packers lose (vs. Bears), it’ll be Los Angeles. If the Rams lose and the Packers win, it’ll be the Packers.

So today’s Question of the Day is:

Which team would you rather face in the first round: the Packers or Rams?

My answer: In all honesty, I don’t love either matchup right now. The main reason: both of these teams have some of the hottest offenses in football right now. The Lions’ biggest weakness right now is passing defense, and look at how each team ranks right now in that category since Week 10.

Dropback EPA:

  • Rams: 5th
  • Packers: 2nd

Dropback success rate:

  • Rams: 5th
  • Packers: 6th

Pass DVOA:

  • Packers: 3rd
  • Rams: 4th

Passer rating:

  • Packers: 4th (105.1)
  • Rams: 5th (104.5)

Essentially we’re talking about two top-five passing offenses over the last two months, and that doesn’t match up particularly well with Detroit.

That said, give me the Packers. I know they took it to Detroit pretty handily last time the two teams met, but that was a rare defensive performance from Green Bay and a rare bad performance from the Lions offensive line. The truth is that while the Packers’ offense has been very good lately, their defense has been one of the worst in the NFL—ranking 25th in EPA since Week 10 and 29th in DVOA.

Plus, you get to avoid all the annoying “Matthew Stafford returns to Detroit” narratives that overshadow all the amazing storylines of Detroit having their first home playoff game in three decades. The Lions knocked Green Bay out of the playoffs last year, why not do it again this year? We know how satisfying that can be.

What are your thoughts? Vote in the poll below and scroll down to the comment section to share your reasoning.


Which team would you rather the Lions face in the playoffs?

This poll is closed

  • 63%
    (1978 votes)
  • 36%
    (1135 votes)
3113 votes total Vote Now

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