The Detroit Lions will look to extend their win streak to two games on Thursday when they take on the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. There are plenty of storylines heading into this divisional matchup, and here we’ll take a look at the biggest questions surrounding the Lions ahead of this contest.
Three Questions Heading into Lions at Packers
Who Will Be Active for Detroit?
The Lions have caught the injury bug less than a month into the regular season. CJ Gardner-Johnson and James Houston are out for the foreseeable future and there are other key players nursing smaller injuries. Offensive tackle Taylor Decker suffered a foot injury against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 1 and has not played since. Running back David Montgomery, defensive back Kerby Joseph, and guard Halapoulivaati Vaitai all suffered injuries against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 2 and missed last week’s game against the Atlanta Falcons.
Coach Dan Campbell said earlier this week that he felt good about Decker and Montgomery’s chances of playing against the Packers, while Joseph and Vaitai’s status were up in the air. The Lions would happily welcome back Decker, as tackle Penei Sewell could move back to the right side of the line where he’s played his whole career since arriving in Detroit back in 2021. Montgomery’s return would give a jolt to the Lions’ run game and help keep Green Bay’s defense off-balance while splitting time with rookie running back Jahmyr Gibbs. We can expect more injury updates as we get closer to Thursday’s matchup.
Will Jahmyr Gibbs Finally Breakout?
Lions fans have been clamoring for the rookie to get a full workload and when he finally did in Week 3, he didn’t disappoint. Gibbs stepped up in Montgomery’s absence and rushed for 80 yards on 17 carries while also catching a pass for two yards. It was a welcome sight for fans who’ve wanted to see the 12th overall pick in April’s draft get more touches.
While it was a promising performance for Gibbs, it left fans wanting more. Gibbs’ talent is easy to see, and it’s only a matter of time until he completely breaks out. Even if Montgomery does play on Thursday, the Lions may be cautious with how they use him, which would give Gibbs the opportunity to lead the Detroit backfield in touches again. Over 100 total yards and a touchdown would be a nice coming-out party on the road in primetime against your divisional rival. It’s on him to take advantage.
Can Detroit Assert Themselves As Division Favorites?
The Lions were seen as favorites by many to win their first division title since 1993 heading into the season, and they still are. At the end of the day, that’s all speculation and doesn’t matter. What matters is how you perform on the field, and the Lions have a special opportunity on Thursday to beat a division rival on the road.
A second-straight primetime win at Lambeau Field over the Packers would officially put the rest of the league on notice. Beating the Chiefs in Week 1 showed that the Lions can win big games, but in order to contend in the NFL, you have to do it consistently. While there will be no Aaron Rodgers, the Packers are 2-1 and are getting quality play from first-year starter Jordan Love. It’ll be important for the Detroit defense to replicate their performance against Atlanta last week and get pressure on Love, whose biggest issue so far has been his accuracy. Love is only completing passes at a 53% rate this season, so it will be crucial to make him uncomfortable in the pocket. The Lions will surely be up for the test.
The world will be watching on Thursday night in what will be one of the most exciting games of the NFL’s young season. It’ll be a great test for a Detroit team looking to enter uncharted territory and wanting to prove one thing: they’re the team to beat in the NFC North.