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W2W4: Detroit Lions vs. Green Bay Packers

ALLEN PARK, Mich. – The Detroit Lions are taking on the Green Bay Packers in an NFC North divisional game Sunday. Here are some things to watch during the rivalry game.

1. The slot corner. It’s been a rotation not by choice, but by injury all season long. Already, the Lions are on their fourth potential starting slot corner in three weeks. Bill Bentley is out for the season with a torn ACL. Nevin Lawson is out for the season with dislocated toes. Cassius Vaughn is out with an ankle injury. Enter either Danny Gorrer, Don Carey or Rashean Mathis will move from outside into the slot. If it is Mathis, watch for the Packers to pick on the outside corner who replaces him. If it is Gorrer or Carey, expect Aaron Rodgers to look for those quick routes early on to test Detroit’s defense. It wouldn’t be too surprising to see DeAndre Levy shade over to the slot corner side as well to help in coverage in certain situations.

2. Detroit’s run game: It hasn’t gone well so far, especially in the first half against Carolina and New York, with 44 yards on 25 carries. Offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi seemed focused on both establishing the run early against Green Bay on Sunday and also finding more touches for running back Reggie Bush. It would not be shocking to see the re-emergence of the screen pass for the Lions on Sunday, either, as it is a way to utilize Bush well. This could be a good week for Detroit to re-establish the run as well. Green Bay is 29th in the league in rushing yards allowed (353) and 21st in yards-per-rush allowed (4.77).

3. Stopping Eddie Lacy: The Lions haven’t faced a top-flight running back yet this season – sorry, Jonathan Stewart – and Lacy will be that test. Detroit has been the best in the league against the run, though. The Lions are allowing a league-best 2.5 yards per carry. A lot of that has to do with a front seven led by defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and linebackers DeAndre Levy and Stephen Tulloch. All three have a lot of experience against Green Bay and Rodgers, so they could be able to read the Packers’ run vs. pass situations better than other teams.

4. Wide receiver fun: Jordy Nelson has emerged as one of the best receivers in the NFL this season, leading the league in yards from receivers who have played two games with 292. Calvin Johnson is right behind him with 247. Green Bay’s secondary is superior to Detroit’s at this point – see the injury ward above – and Rodgers is a premier quarterback. But if the Lions can shut off at least part of the Rodgers-to-Nelson combination, they’ll have a shot Sunday, especially if Matthew Stafford can find Johnson in smart spots while also keeping Bush, Joique Bell, Golden Tate and Detroit’s trio of tight ends involved. That’s been the key to the Lions’ offense all season, finding proper offensive balance. When they do that, they move the ball well. When they don't, they stall frequently.