The Detroit Lions recognize the value of Thursday’s game against the Green Bay Packers.
They know a win is essential if they hope to challenge for the division.
They also know a win puts them in favorable position for a playoff berth.
And they know that win won’t be easily obtained.
If the Lions are to be successful in beating the Packers they must limit the offensive damage of their opponent.
Keeping the Packers offense to a pedestrian performance will not be without difficulty considering they're averaging over 400 yards of offense and 35.5 points per game.
At the controls of the Packers overwhelming attack is quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who is leading the league with a sparkling 130.7 quarterback rating.
“Rodgers does a good job of distributing the ball to playmakers,” said head coach Jim Schwartz. “…He’s got very good mobility; (He) moves around in the pocket, buys time to make big plays down the field, but also can scramble for first downs and yardage if you let him, so it forces you to defend the entire field… He’s obviously a good player. He’s a Super Bowl winner and we’re going to have to play our best.”
The Lions philosophy in regards to neutralizing Rodgers isn’t complex.
“I think that’s the answer to any offense where you have the quarterback and the weapons they have. You have to get pressure and disrupt his timing,” said defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch. “If we’re getting hits on him and he’s on his back then he’s not scoring touchdowns. “
The onus will be on the defensive line to disrupt the Packers passing game, as the Lions figure to spend the majority of the game rushing four while keeping their back seven in coverage.
Although the pressure may be greater this week, the defensive line is accustomed to the responsibility.
“We know as a D-line that our goal every week is to try to make it easy on the back seven,” said defensive end Cliff Avril. “Meaning putting pressure on quarterbacks, getting hits on quarterbacks and making them feel our presence and getting sacks.”
Strong play from the Lions front four is a necessity but will not be enough on its own.
The Lions will need to keep pace on offense if they hope to end the Packers 16-game winning streak.
“We definitely know we are going to have to put up a lot of points for our defense,” said receiver Titus Young. “Just knowing that the Packers offense is one of the more high powered offenses in the NFL… it’s pretty much on the offense to do our best and put points up. I feel like we got a great practice in today and started this week off right.”
A national stage is set and the reigning Super Bowl champions are coming to town.
A victory won’t be easy, not that anyone would have expected it to be.
“Like anything worth having, getting to the playoffs won’t be easy, we know we have our work cut out for us,” said cornerback Chris Houston.
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