The Green Bay Packers will be without five of their key defensive players for today’s game against the high-powered Detroit Lions.
Cornerback Sam Shields (concussion) was ruled out on Friday and safety Morgan Burnett (groin) and outside linebacker Clay Matthews (ankle/hamstring) were downgraded to out on Saturday. They are joined on the inactives list by defensive tackle Letroy Guion (knee) and elephant Datone Jones (knee), who were downgraded to doubtful on Saturday.
Shields, Burnett, Matthews and Guion are starters and Jones is a top backup. They’ll be tested by a Lions offense that has averaged 411.5 and 27 points per game in the first two weeks. The Packers’ secondary, in particular, will be challenged by quarterback Matthew Stafford and starting receivers Marvin Jones, Golden Tate and Anquan Boldin. Stafford has thrown for 600 yards with a 101.2 passer rating.
Julius Peppers, who had 1.5 sacks last week at Minnesota, will replace Matthews. Micah Hyde will take Burnett’s spot, Quinten Rollins will take Shields’ place in the base defense and first-round pick Kenny Clark will take Guion’s spot and make his first career start.
Matthews hadn't missed a game since the 2013 playoffs, when he was out with his re-broken thumb.
Guard T.J. Lang (hip), who was questionable, will start.
For Detroit, its key inactives are defensive end Ziggy Ansah and outside linebacker DeAndre Levy.
FOR MORE ON TODAY'S GAME
This week, Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy said two important things. One, the offense needs to attack the middle of the field. Two, winning field position and time of possession are more important than leading the league in scoring. We examined those statements. What did we find? The numbers and history can be found in our World's Best Preview. ALWAYS A ONE-WEEK FREE TRIAL.
Bill Huber is publisher of PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PackerReport.