Packers Morning Buzz: How 'sleeper' Lions can upset Packers
Welcome to your Morning Buzz, rounding up news and views regarding the Green Bay Packers from around the web and here at PackersNews.com.
We'll start with NFL.com analytics expert Cynthia Frelund listing the Lions as her "sleeper" team this week and spelling out how Detroit can spring a Monday night upset on Green Bay:
Detroit Lions: Despite taking the field without Pro Bowl cornerback Darius Slay and losing stout safety Quandre Diggs in the second quarter, the Lions nearly knocked off the high-flying Chiefs in Week 4, holding reigning MVP Patrick Mahomes without a single completion of 20-plus air yards in a game for the first time in his professional career, per Next Gen Stats. That's an impressive feat, even in a losing effort. And this kind of play bodes well for the 2-1-1 Lions' big "Monday Night Football" showdown with the division rival Packers (4-1) in Lambeau Field. Speaking of attempts of 20-plus air yards, Matthew Stafford has already connected on such passes 11 times in just four games. Last season, he had a total of 19 over the full season. Unsurprisingly, Stafford's air-yards-per-attempt average has gone from 7.0 in 2018 (ranking 31st among qualifying QBs) to 11.1 (first) this season, per NGS.
The Lions win this enticing NFC North bout if two things happen:
1) Detroit's run concepts and O-line keep Stafford free from Green Bay's pressure long enough for him to get vertical.
2) Detroit's defense, which boasts the lowest completion-percentage allowed on third down (44.4 percent), limits big plays (runs of 10-plus yards and passes of 20-plus), especially early in the game.
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Former Lions star running back Barry Sanders says the nationally televised prime-time game is "what you live for" as a player:
Matthew Stafford sure isn't joking around:
Packers coach Matt LaFleur is lavishing praise on Stafford:
Don't look for Packers wide receiver Davante Adams to be ready to play against the Lions:
The Packers' injury list gets even lengthier:
Jamaal Williams is back and harbors no ill will toward the Eagles' Derek Barnett:
Rob Reischel writes that LaFleur is far and away the most successful of the NFL's first-year coaches:
ESPN's Rob Demovsky looks at some of the things LaFleur has done to get off to his fast start:
The Packers surprisingly don't make this list:
Two guys talking football: Peyton Manning and Brett Favre.
Contact Stu Courtney at (920) 431-8377 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @stucourt