The Green Bay Packers (13-3) and Detroit Lions (2-13-1) wrap up their respective regular seasons tomorrow at Ford Field in Detroit, MI. The last time these two divisional foes met was way back in Week 2, when both teams were 0-1. The Packers won that game 35-17. With the #1 seed in the NFC locked up, Sunday’s game is essentially meaningless for the Packers, win or lose. The primary goal is to remain healthy going into the playoffs.
Tomorrow, football fans across the world will savor Scott Hanson’s final “7 hours of commercial free football” one last time for the 2021-22 NFL regular season. While a sad day for many, the Packers are just getting started. Here are 4 Things to Watch in Packers vs Lions on Sunday.
1) Aaron Rodgers and Jordan Love
“Obviously there’s risk every time you step onto the field, whether it’s a game field or a practice field, in everything you do,” LaFleur said. “So we just want to make sure we’re smart, but … I can’t think of anything that would take him (Rodgers) off of the field right now unless he came to me with some concerns.”
Rodgers wants to play because he believes it’ll help sustain the Packers positive momentum on offense. Additionally, he simply loves the game of football and wants to be on the field with his teammates.
“It’s more just keeping the momentum going and the desire to be out there with the guys competing,” Rodgers said Wednesday. “I know there’s possible players who could return this week — I don’t know what their status is going to be — but that’s exciting, for sure. If guys are healthy, guys want to play.”
With all that’s been said, I’d still be shocked if the Packers played Rodgers and other key players for more than a half in tomorrow’s contest. Jordan Love should see his fair share of action. If he does, it’ll be another rare glimpse for Packers fans of their mysterious backup and potential QB of the future.
2) Return of the Bak?
There’s a chance that LT David Bakhtiari returns in tomorrow’s game. If he does, that would be an incredibly encouraging sign going into the playoffs. The Packers 2-Time All-Pro Offensive Lineman hasn’t played in a single down this season. Finally, it appears there’s a realistic shot that the 9 year NFL veteran is back to complete health. If he does indeed play tomorrow, it would only be appropriate for Packers fans everywhere to chug a cold one in his honor.
Additionally, the Packers may also get their starting Center back in Josh Myers. The rookie from Ohio State hasn’t played since Week 6 but like Bakhtiari, might be back to full strength. If both guys are able to play, that would be very beneficial heading into the postseason. Tomorrow’s game would allow them to get their feet wet and knock off rust in an essentially meaningless game outside of staying healthy.
3) Punt and Kick Return
The Packers are only 1 game away from the playoffs and dare I say, maybe, just maybe have finally found a reliable guy to return punts and kicks?! Hopefully, David Moore is that man, as he showed stability and production as a returner in his first game with the Packers last week against Minnesota.
Moore, signed last week by the Packers off the street, immediately made an impact last Sunday, returning a punt for 21 yards, Green Bay’s longest punt return in 48 games.
Tomorrow’s game will be another opportunity for Moore to prove to the Packers that he is their man.
4) St. Brown Brothers in the Spotlight
Packers WR Equanimeous St. Brown and Lions WR Amon-Ra St. Brown are brothers. Equanimeous, 25 years of age and Amon-Ra, 22 both are in the NFL and have both been significant contributors to their respective NFC North Teams this season.
The oldest St. Brown is in his 4th year with the Packers and for him, 2021 has been a collection of positive impact plays on special teams whilst doing a good job run blocking on offense. The younger brother, a rookie from USC, has exploded on the scene with the Lions. Amon-Ra needs 15 yards receiving tomorrow to break Roy Williams rookie franchise record for most WR receiving yards in a season. The same young man who caught the game winning touchdown earlier this season against the Vikings as time expired, has 82 catches and 803 yards for the Lions this year. It’s fair to assume those St. Brown Parents are very proud of their sons, whose teams will be playing each other tomorrow.
Alex grew up in a family of Chicago Bears fans in the suburbs of Chicago but was always a diehard Packers fan. Alex\’s AIM name when he was in elementary/middle school was PackerAlex. He now lives in Nashville, Tennessee and you can follow him on twitter at @Alex_Mayer93.