Game Overview ::
By hilow >>
- Packers RBs Aaron Jones (knee) and Emanuel Wilson (shoulder) did not participate in Monday’s walkthrough (estimated) after sustaining injuries in Week 11.
- Packers WR Dontayvion Wicks (concussion/knee) was also a ‘DNP’ on Monday’s estimated practice report – Wicks has been a steady contributor to the Green Bay offense of late.
- The Lions have a relatively clean bill of health, with only OG Jonah Jackson (wrist) listed as a ‘DNP’ on Monday’s walkthrough.
- The Packers have forced the second-shallowest aDOT on defense this season, reducing the allure of Jameson Williams and Kalif Raymond on this slate.
- Amon-Ra St. Brown has put up 100 yards or scored a touchdown in every game this season but has done both in the same game just twice, keeping him out of the discussion of truly elites at the position. That said, he has been the most consistent fantasy producer at wide receiver aside from Tyreek Hill this year.
- It remains a relative long shot, but the Packers picked up a game on the Vikings for the seventh, and final, playoff spot out of the NFC. They remain 1.5 games back, but an upset win over their division rivals on Thanksgiving would go a long way toward that bid, considering the Vikings still have to play the Lions twice at the end of the year and the Packers play the Vikings in Week 17.
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How GREEN BAY Will Try To Win ::
The Packers put the league on notice by scoring 10 first-half points against the Chargers in Week 11. Clearly I’m being facetious, as Green Bay has now scored a whopping 59 points in the first half (5.9 per game, 31st in the league) and a laughable 20 first-quarter points (2.0 per game, 30th in the league) through 10 games played. Yea, the Jets and Patriots have scored more first-half points than the Packers this season (only the Giants have scored fewer first-half points this season). As we’ve discussed previously, the first half is the part of NFL games where the team’s game plan is most prominent, shifting to a more reactive state in the late second quarter and third quarter, and devolving into an “all bets are off,” desperation state in the fourth quarter. As such, I personally point to head coach Matt LaFleur and the rest of the coaching staff for their struggles this season instead of using quarterback Jordan Love as the scapegoat. We’ve grown accustomed to seeing the Packers dominate time of possession through a methodical offense and prevent defense, forcing teams to march the field in the process. This year, however, they’re more allowing teams to march the field while struggling to sustain drives themselves. That has led to the second-most precipitous drop in average time of possession from last year to this year, ahead of only the Steelers. All of that comes together to tell the story of a team largely finding itself in catch-up mode late in games, particularly against superior opponents (which the Lions are).
With Jones and Wilson both banged up in Week 11, it looks like we’re going to see a backfield led by Dillon, with Patrick Taylor as the change-of-pace back in a difficult matchup against the Lions on Thanksgiving. Detroit has held opposing backs to just 3.8 yards per carry on a surprising 1.45 yards per carry allowed before contact, the latter of which ranks 27th in the league. Regardless of how they are schematically doing it, the Lions are holding opposing backs to just 16.5 DK points per game, good for fourth fewest in the league. Dillon is averaging 3.5 yards per carry of his own and has some of the lowest underlying metrics in the league, ranking 49th in juke rate (13.9 percent), 40th in evaded tackles (16 total, 1.8 per game), and 42nd in breakaway run rate (1.9 percent). Taylor was signed to the active roster on Monday and the team also signed James Robinson to the practice squad; should Robinson be elevated Wednesday, it would almost guarantee the absences of Jones and Wilson on Thursday.
The Packers have been utilizing a maddening six primary-pass-catcher rotation for the available four primary pass-catching positions of late, with all of Christian Watson, Romeo Doubs, Jayden Reed, Wicks and tight ends Luke Musgrave and Tucker Kraft playing meaningful snaps on a weekly basis since the team’s Week 6 bye. The concussion suffered by Wicks in Week 11 is likely to hold him out of action on the short week, which is likelier to lead to an increase in opportunity for Malik Heath than it is to condense the snap rates for the remaining five semi-starters. We know the drill by now with this unit – Watson holds one of the deepest aDOTs in the league but also has one of the lowest catchable-target rates, Doubs has a solid 25 percent red-zone target share but is targeted on just 21.2 percent of his routes, Reed has a low 72.8 percent route-participation rate while playing almost exclusively from the slot, and Musgrave has seen his snap rates lessened in recent weeks with fellow rookie Kraft taking on a larger role. The Lions have forced the eighth-highest pass play rate this season at 60.7 percent, but the Packers have been slow to adjust to matchups this season and could be left fighting for volume over two quarters worth of play.