ChatWrap: Lions' offense catching Packers?

May, 2, 2012
5/02/12
10:05
AM ET
Tuesday's SportsNation chat brought us the first round of "Did Team X elevate over Team Y after the draft" questions. I was never a big algebra guy, and I'm not ready to start playing favorites here in the NFC North.

But it is probably time to start the discussion, and we'll use two offense-related questions from the chat as a springboard. The exchanges:
Will (Texas)

If healthy, does Ryan Broyles makes Detroit's offense more explosive than Green Bay's?

Kevin Seifert (2:28 PM)

The one place where the Packers would be more explosive, but probably not more productive, is at tight end. Finley more explosive downfield than Pettigrew.

Gordy B (Houston)

Is it fair to say, assuming Forte is playing behind Cutler, with the additions of Brandon Marshall, Mike Bush and now Alshon Jeffery in front of Devin Hester and Earl Bennett, the Bears have the most COMPLETE offense in the division?

Kevin Seifert (2:54 PM)

That's a fair way to look at it. They're best equipped to make significant game-planning changes week-to-week based on matchups, that's for sure.

We took a look last month at the Bears' offensive hopes under new coordinator Mike Tice, noting they are well on their way to being the NFC North's most balanced offense. I'm not sure if they'll be explosive enough to compete throw for throw with the Packers and Lions, but I'm also not sure they want to.

If "explosion" is defined by the ability to make big/long plays, the Packers had the clear edge over the Lions in 2011. Most notably, they averaged 9.3 yards per attempt to the Lions' 7.6. Meanwhile, the Lions threw 114 more passes than the Packers last season, but the Packers still had five more completions of at least 20 yards.

Assuming he is healthy, can Broyles close the gap? Here's what Scouts Inc. had to say about his big-play ability: "Quicker than fast and does not appear to have the long speed to consistently get behind defenses. However, catches the ball effortlessly on the run and quickly turns up field. An elusive and slippery runner when hitting the open field. Can create and turn and short throw into a long gain. Does not have the extra gear to consistently out run pursuit that has favorable angles."

The Packers had one of the best offenses in NFL history last season, and it will be tough for any team -- including the 2012 Packers -- to match it. But if the Lions match or exceed the Packers' explosiveness, my guess is that it will be more a product of their continued maturation as a group than Broyles' impact alone.

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