It’s finally here, the last week of the 2021 NFL season (which bleeds until 2022, even) and for Lions fans, it’s one last chance to secure a victory over an NFC rival North. , the Green Bay Packers.
There’s not too much drama for the Week 18 showdown: The Packers won home court advantage last week with a victory over the Minnesota Vikings. For the Lions, there’s a slight tinge of drama, of the first-pick variety, with the Jacksonville Jaguars in need of a loss to the Indianapolis Colts likely to advance to the playoffs to lock in No. 1. So, yes, we’ll find out who has the top pick by the end of the 1pm games window.
Do the Free Press editors think Detroit’s mentality of playing hard until the final whistle will result in a win over a Green Bay side with very little to play?
Green Bay Packers at the Detroit Lions, 1 p.m., Fox.
BREAKDOWN OF WEEK 18:Detroit Lions vs. Green Bay Packers: Dave Birkett scout report, prediction
I’m not sure what to think of this game. Aaron Rodgers and the other key starters from Green Bay will be playing, but I’d be surprised if they saw more than half of the action. That seems like enough time to stay sharp for the playoffs while minimizing the risk of injury inherent in the NFL game.
The Lions should benefit from Jared Goff’s return, but there is enough uncertainty about the availability of Penei Sewell and Taylor Decker to question how much that will help the offense. At a minimum, I expect the Lions to play a better and more competitive game than last week against the Seahawks. They bounced back strong from their worst performances of the season, beating the Arizona Cardinals after being eliminated by the Denver Broncos and tying the Pittsburgh Steelers after losing to the Philadelphia Eagles. It should be another rebound effort, and if Packers coach Matt LaFleur takes a more conservative-than-expected approach with Rodgers and Co., the Lions could even end Dan Campbell’s first season with a win. The choice: Packers 24, Lions 20.
The question is not who will win this game? The question is who is going to play this game? Even though Green Bay clinched the NFC’s No.1 seed and a first-round pass, LaFleur said earlier in the week that his starters would play against the Lions. If the starters play more than a few heats to keep rust at bay during their two-week hiatus, it could get ugly at Ford Field. The Lions are struggling with health issues at both offensive tackle points and at Goff, and D’Andre Swift is expected to have a light workload again as he recovers from a sprained shoulder. The choice: Packers 30, Lions 19.
This game means nothing to the Packers other than staying sharp. So how long will Green Bay keep their starters? Long enough for Green Bay to win, short enough for the Lions to stay this close. If Goff plays and the Packers seat their starters, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Lions won that. The choice: Packers 24, Lions 21.