It seems as if every Detroit Lions game has a hash tag or headline attached to it.
The season-opener against the Kansas City Chiefs was the “can you play with the big boys game?”
Last week’s game against the Atlanta Falcons was the “must win game” The Lions could not afford to be 1-2 heading into Thursday’s game at Green Bay which has a hash tag of its own.
This is the “take control of the division game.”
The Lions and Packers are both tied for the division lead at 2-1 and winner inherits early command of the division at the quarter poll. Chicago and Minnesota (0-3) probably won’t be factors at any point of the season.
The Lions handled the previously unbeaten Atlanta Falcons last week while the Packers recorded the largest fourth quarter comeback in team history while erasing a 17-point deficit to upend the New Orleans Saints.
The Packers were riddled with injuries and penalties before rallying to take control. Now the Lions want to take control with a defense that hopes to be “aggressive and violent” against Green Bay. This is another prime time game for the Lions who are the new darlings of the NFL.
This marks the third prime time game in the last five for Detroit. The Lions beat Aaron Rodgers in his final game as a Packer last season, which also knocked the Packers out of the play offs and they opened the regular season with a Thursday night win over the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs.
The Lions are hungry too. They want to show that their defense can remain a disruptive force.
The key for the Lions is to slow the Packers running game and dare relatively inexperienced quarterback Jordan Love to beat them through the air. The tentative defense we saw against Seattle must be placed in moth balls and replaced by the Lions defense that held Atlanta to six points and 44 yard rushing.
The Lions must make things as difficult on Love as much as they did with Falcons quarterback Desmond Ridder.
Love is the toast of Green Bay after rallying the Pack from 17-0 fourth-quarter deficit against the Saints. He has thrown for 655 yards on 53.1 percent passing – seven touchdowns and one pick.
“We got to keep going,” said defensive tackle Alim McNeill. “We are trying to change the narrative so we got to keep stacking them, a disciplined football team that plays with violence.”
Packers’ offensive coordinator Adam Stenavich said the Lions aggressiveness, especially against the run jumped off the page.
“They’re very similar to New Orleans as far as their structure,” Stenavich said. “Their linebackers are very aggressive, and I think they’re very instinctual players. But their interior guys do a really good job, just getting off blocks. They’re very disruptive. So that, and a combination of they’re always trying to have an extra hat in the box with the safety, 32 (Brian Branch). They’re a pretty aggressive bunch. They did a good job versus Atlanta.”
For more from the author Terry Foster, check him out on Twitter here: @terryfosterdet
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Original Photo Credit: © Lon Horwedel – USA TODAY Sports