Lions - Packers: 5 players to watch on NFL Thursday Night Football | Jordan Love, Aidan Hutchinson, Aaron Jones
The Green Bay Packers and the Detroit Lions kickoff Week 4 on Thursday Night as two 2-1 NFC North teams battle for early season positioning in the division.
Tonight, we have a rematch of last year’s Week 18 season finale that kept the Green Bay Packers out of the playoffs after the Detroit Lions went into Lambeau and broke the hearts of Cheeseheads in the Frozen Tundra, while simultaneously ending the Aaron Rodgers era as a Packer.
Green Bay will be looking for revenge tonight against a team that came into the season as the dark horse in the NFC, and will be gunning for the division title in an NFC North that is wide open.
Both teams come into Week 4 at 2-1 after wins last Sunday. The Lions controlled the Falcons from the very start to the very end of the game in Ford Field as the defense shut down Atlanta’s running game. Jared Goff threw for a TD and ran for another as Detroit eased past ATL to hand them their first loss of the season.
It took the Packers offense 45 minutes to get the wheels turning against a stingy Saints defense on Sunday afternoon. They were being manhandled through the first three quarters, and went into the final 15 minutes down 17-0, but Jordan Love orchestrated a historic comeback that Packers franchise had never seen before. Love ran in a TD and threw the game winner to Romeo Dobbs with under three minutes to go in the game.
The Jordan Love era is well underway in Green Bay and the young gun slinger is doing an excellent job filling the shoes of a four time MVP and a future Hall of Famer. In his first three games as the GB QB1 he has passed for 7 TDs, which is tied for third among all QBs (tied with Patrick Mahomes) and has thrown just one interception which is the best among the top five quarterbacks with the most TDs in the league going into Week 4. He also has a rushing TD, which he ran in during the Packers dramatic comeback win over the Saints last week. The Lions secondary has shown they are susceptible to getting picked apart, and Love will be looking to tee off in his first primetime game in Lambeau.
The Packers starting running back was instrumental in the Packers opening week win over the Bears. He had 127 total yards, the majority of those coming on his two receptions, but a strained hamstring has kept him out of the last two games. With Aaron Rodgers gone, Jones is the most experienced play maker and anchor of the offense. Green Bay struggled closing out the Falcons in Week 2, because they didn’t have some one in the backfield who could keep the clock running while picking up first downs on a day where they needed to protect a 12 point fourth quarter lead. Word out of Green Bay is Jones will be available for the Pack, and there are few players in the league to relish primetime games like the man under the sombrero.
The Detroit defense might be a liability for the Lions, at least in the early part of this season, but they do have one of the scariest pass rushers in the league in Aidan Hutchinson. He is in just his second season out of the University of Michigan and after a 9.5 sack, 3 interception rookie season his stock is rising even more three games into the season. He had four tackles, two sacks including a strip sack that he recovered late in the Lions win over the Falcons last week, and he will be looking to make lift awfully uncomfortable for Jordan Love and the Packers offense.
Amonra St. Brown
The Detroit Lions offense has yet to find the same rhythm that they had at the end of last year, but there have been flashes of explosiveness. When the Lions offense is rolling it usually on the shoulders of Amonra St. Brown who is quickly becoming one of the best receivers in the game. In two of Detroits first three games he has gone over 100 yards, and his 275 yards puts him in the top 10 among the games best receivers. Green Bay’s top cover corner, Jaire Alexander, is listed as questionable with a back injury. Goff and Brown will be looking to exploit that matchup even if the Packers cornerback is available for Monday night’s primetime game.
There have been few rookies that have exploded onto the scene like the Lions first year tight end Sam Laporta. In just three games he has established himself as one of Jared Goff’s favorite targets, and if it wasn’t for Puca Nacua in LA, he would be the early season offensive Rookie of the Year. He has 18 catches for 186 yards and a touchdown in his first three games of the season. His head coach Dan Campbell is a former tight end, and knows he has a gem in Laporta who has become instrumental in helping the Lions pick up first downs and keeps drives alive.