The Detroit Lions are suddenly alive and kicking for a potential late season playoff push in 2020, and in spite of some good feelings gained in Week 13, this week will bring a brand new and stiff challenge to the team.
Detroit won 34-30 over the Chicago Bears, but they will face the Green Bay Packers at Ford Field next. That’s a whole different animal for the team to contend with considering how well the Packers have been playing lately and the run they seem to be primed on toward the postseason.
In order for the Lions to win, they are going to have to play a much cleaner and more consistent game than they played last Sunday in Chicago. It’s always possible, but there will be some major variables that determine how well the team does this week.
What are the most important things to watch in another rivalry contest for Detroit? Here’s a look.
Can Detroit’s Darrell Bevell Bump Continue?
The Lions look to be winning for their new head coach and are energized by a regime change. To that end, they’re a dangerous foe for the Packers considering the way the team has been managing to get by in recent weeks. If the team is charged up by Bevell as they were last week, it’s possible this emotion alone could help Detroit hang around the game most of the afternoon. The Lions are fired up by Bevell right now, and that will be something which could drive them to continue to play above their heads in some games. Will it be enough in a contest with a potential major talent disparity? That is what’s left to be seen.
What Impact Does Later Start Have for Detroit?
The Lions aren’t used to playing in the 4:25 EST game at home, and when the schedule was changed, it likely came with the caveat that things would be significantly different for Detroit this week. Detroit has been on a run of 1 p.m. games most of the year, but the flex gives them a chance to play in a more condensed window. Will they rise to the occasion? It’s rare the Lions get such treatment while the Packers are used to it, and that could play a major role in who wins the game eventually.
Will the Lions Defense Remain Impactful?
Detroit’s defense wasn’t great last week in allowing 30 points and nearly 400 yards of offense to the Bears, but the Lions were opportunistic, something they haven’t been much of the last three seasons. Detroit forced a critical turnover late, and also got a key stop on fourth down late in the game in order to preserve the win. Allowing huge yardage is probably going to happen again this week considering Detroit already gave up 42 points to Green Bay once, so the team will have to find a way to force mistakes and make their big plays count if they get them.
Who Steps up at Running Back for Detroit?
The Lions could be without D’Andre Swift again, though the hope is that he is getting healthier. Adrian Peterson scored 2 touchdowns last week, and could be in line for a bigger role again. Kerryon Johnson needs to chip in, too. If the Lions are going to pull the upset, it will involve another big day from Matthew Stafford, but quietly, the ground game helped drive the win last week. A good running game will only help the offense be more effective in this contest.
What is Matthew Stafford’s Encore?
Speaking of Stafford, the Lions got 402 yards and 3 touchdowns from the quarterback in a major resurgent performance last week. Arguably, Stafford looked more comfortable than he has in a long time in Darrell Bevell’s offense and it led to a huge day on the field against a decent defense. Quite honestly, the Lions need more of that if the team is to compete down the stretch and find a way to win games that will be very difficult. Stafford struggled at times against the Packers earlier this season, so a major turnaround will have to be in the cards for him in order to help the Lions win a game.
READ NEXT: Lions Heavy Underdogs for Packers Matchup