Aaron Nagler speaks with Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press about Sunday's showdown between the Green Bay Packers and the Detroit Lions. (Dec. 28, 2017)
The lowdown on the Green Bay Packers' next opponent from a beat writer who covers that team.
The Green Bay Packers travel to Detroit to take on the Lions on Sunday with little to play for other than the chance for young players to put some positive things on film for the coaching and personnel staffs heading into 2018.
1. Since both of these teams are locked into their positions in the division with very little to play for, will the Lions be looking at some young players to get a start on evaluation for 2018?
Jim Caldwell said this week that he won't deviate from his approach to past games. That means Matthew Stafford should start and play the entire game at quarterback, but the Lions still will play plenty of rookies and young players. The Lions have eight rookies in their playing group, including starters at linebacker (Jarrad Davis), wide receiver (Kenny Golladay) and in their nickel package (Teez Tabor). They won't play any more than in the past, but they will be on the field a lot.
2. Former Packers offensive lineman Don Barclay has seen some playing time since coming over earlier this season. How has he played for the Lions?
Barclay suffered a concussion in last week's loss to the Cincinnati Bengals and was placed on injured reserve. That was his first start as a Lion, and his third game overall. He was on the field only because of T.J. Lang's injury, and predictably was inconsistent in his play. Lang should be back in the lineup this week.
3. The last time these two teams faced off, the Lions didn't punt once. Is there any reason to think Stafford and the Lions' offense won't walk all over the Packers' defense again?
Stafford should be in for another big game. He's played well at home this season and has a small chance to eclipse 4,500 yards passing for just the fourth time in his career. The Lions can't run the ball, though, and Stafford has taken 45 sacks on the season (tied for the most in his career), so the Lions certainly have their shortcomings on the offensive side of the ball. Still, given the fact that this could be Caldwell's final game as Lions coach, I think the Lions will be plenty motivated for the game.