A brief overview of three storylines that could help determine the outcome of Monday night's showdown between the Lions and the Packers.
Coming off their bye week, one might think the Green Bay Packers would have held steady in the latest USA Today NFL Power Rankings, but they actually jumped up two spots to No. 22. Maybe they should take the week off more often.
The Packers' opponent this week, the Detroit Lions, are coming off a brutal loss to to the Pittsburgh Steelers, their third loss in a row. Still, the Lions come in at No. 16.
Here’s what USA Today has to say about the Packers:
While on bye, TE Martellus Bennett mulled goodbye to his career. May be time. He hasn't been this unproductive since he was Jason Witten's backup.
And here’s what they have to say about the Lions:
Pretty much the epitome of an empty-calorie offensive attack - 482 yards and zero TDs (including 0-for-5 in red zone) during Sunday night's defeat.
Elsewhere, Elliot Harrison has the Packers at No. 23:
How will coach Mike McCarthy alter the offense to suit what quarterback Brett Hundley can do well? Running the ball two downs and throwing to guys on slow-developing patterns won't keep the Pack in the hunt until (if) Aaron Rodgers comes back from his broken collarbone. Taking advantage of Hundley's mobility makes the most sense, as long as the rest of the offense (namely, McCarthy) can adjust. Don't misunderstand me: As a passer, Hundley is probably better from inside the pocket, where he can step up to avoid rushers without having to throw on the run. That said, utilizing some designed runs that the Pack would have never used with Rodgers could be effective.
Over at Yahoo! Sports, Frank Schwab puts the post-bye Packers at No. 22:
It’s possible that the Saints’ pass defense is really good, and that’s why Brett Hundley struggled so much in his first start. We’ll get a long look at him in a home game against the Detroit Lions next Monday night, after he has had a bye week to prepare. Maybe he can rekindle some optimism for the Packers.
The bye week apparently did wonders for the Packers in the eyes of the folks in Bristol, who have the Packers coming in at No. 16:
From ESPN’s website:
In the Packers' most recent game, which was at home, they won the turnover battle and rushed for 181 yards. They lost 26-17. The Packers couldn't win under such favorable circumstances without Aaron Rodgers, so what happens if they turn it over more or can't run the ball?
Over at Pro Football Talk, Florio has the Packers holding steady at No. 22:
It’s good that they used the bye week to bolster the roster through trades and free-agency signings. Wait, this is the Packers we’re talking about.
Chris Simms has the Packers holding steady as well in his rankings for Bleacher Report, with Green Bay coming in at No. 24:
The bye week came at the perfect time for the Green Bay Packers. With Aaron Rodgers out, the Packers need the time to devise a new offense around Brett Hundley at quarterback. They're going to have to come up with a new formula on offense and as a team in general.
I don't think Green Bay is going to be able to survive the loss of Rodgers, though. The Packers don't have the talent to overcome losing the greatest signal-caller of all time. They don't even have the overall talent to play a balanced game the way they tried to do with Hundley under center in Week 7.
This is a team that has relied on Rodgers, and it cannot possibly expect Hunley to do the things Rodgers does.