Packers roundup: Matthews to play against Detroit
Green Bay is coming off its bye week, and while the season is still young, it might be facing a must-win situation with the Detroit Lions paying a visit Sunday.
The Packers are 1-2 and are looking up at the both the Lions and Chicago Bears in the NFC North standings, and Sunday's game has potential to be the offensive show of the week since the teams are two of the three in the NFL that are averaging at least 400 yards of offense and 30 points per game.
Calvin Johnson is always a concern for opposing defenses, but Reggie Bush, a free-agent addition in the offseason, has introduced an explosive component into the Lions backfield. He's averaging 7.3 yards per touch (254 rushing yards+179 receiving yards on 48 rushes+11 catches).
Safety Morgan Burnett will be making his first appearance of the season to help slow down the Detroit attack, and linebacker Clay Matthews has recovered from a hamstring injury he sustained two weeks ago against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston and Tony Siragusa will be calling the game on Fox at noon.
For more, re-read stories that ran in print and online from our partners at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
GREEN BAY DEFENSE STILL UNDEFINED
GREEN BAY—Three games into the 2013 season, the Green Bay Packers are half the team they want to be defensively.
They have been great at limiting long runs but are among the NFL's worst at allowing pass plays of 20 or more yards.
They rank in the top 10 in fewest first downs allowed on third and 5 or more but sit tied for 29th in passing touchdowns allowed.
They have committed just two competitive penalties (non-personal foul or roughness) but have given up nine touchdown drives of 80 or more yards. Read more ...
AS PACKERS TAKE WEEK OFF, NORTH RACE TIGHTENS
GREEN BAY—The decade-plus of incompetence is supposed to be behind the Detroit Lions. They landed the quarterback and paid up to keep him long term. They built a fearsome front four. They add offensive firepower annually.
But to this point, it's all been a tease. The Lions haven't threatened the Green Bay Packers' perch atop the division.
This Sunday, they'll have a chance to prove they're for real at their house of horrors—Lambeau Field. Read more ...
PACKERS AIM TO SOLVE RETURN WOES
GREEN BAY--There was a lot of discussion in the Green Bay Packers coaching offices this past week about the position the team's kickoff return game is in.
For the record, that would be 32nd.
Coming out of the bye week, the Packers are averaging 12.1 yards per kickoff return, the worst of any team in the NFL and 4.8 yards fewer than the second-worst team. They are one of only nine teams that have lost a fumble during a kickoff return.
Their average drive start after kickoff of 19.1 yards is second worst in the NFL and a definite detriment to the offense. Read more ...
PACKERS RECEIVERS NOT WORRIED ABOUT 100-CATCH MARK
GREEN BAY--When was the last time the Green Bay Packers had a receiver with 100 receptions in a single season? If ever?
Jordy Nelson took a guess. Sterling Sharpe? Close, but no. Donald Driver? Also close, but no.
“Oh, I have no clue,” said James Jones.
“Robert Brooks,” said Randall Cobb.
Indeed. Brooks had 102 catches in 1995, but since then no Packers receiver has been able to crack the 100 club, not with MVP quarterbacks throwing in their prime, not with the West Coast offense and its evolutions, not with record-setting years on offense. Read more ...
MATTHEWS TO PLAY AGAINST DETROIT
GREEN BAY—If Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews were going to miss a game, this would be the week to do it.
Since entering the NFL in 2009, Matthews has sat out six games—five because of injury and one a rest going into the playoffs—and of those six, three have come against the Detroit Lions. In those three games, the Packers are undefeated.
The reality, however, is that the Packers couldn't need Matthews more than this Sunday, when they host the Lions at Lambeau Field. Owners of a 1-2 record and in danger of falling 2½ games behind the 3-1 Lions, the Packers don't want to leave anything to chance.
And it doesn't appear they will. Read more ...
RAJI ADJUSTS TO NEW ROLE IN 2013
GREEN BAY—Two, three years ago, B.J. Raji wouldn't have been cool with this.
When the Green Bay Packers defense turns to nickel, to dime, he's been on the sideline. Powerless. With a chance to pad his stats—in, ahem, a contract year—the defensive end is on hold.
Raji insists this isn't difficult, not even with millions of dollars at stake. Read more ...