Packers-Lions: Key matchups

Packers aim to pile up rushing yards against Lions; Detroit WRs will test Packers' secondary

Packers RBs Ryan Grant, Brandon Jackson and Kregg Lumpkin vs. Lions front seven
Green Bay has uncertainty at running back entering the game because Grant isn't 100 percent healed from a hamstring injury that kept him out the majority of the preseason and Jackson suffered a mild concussion in Monday's season-opening win against Minnesota.

The Packers are hopeful Jackson can play and spell Grant, whose touches will again be limited Sunday. If Jackson can't go, however, Green Bay will have to turn to undrafted rookie Lumpkin, whose no-nonsense, powerful running style made him stand out in the preseason.

Whoever is carrying the ball for the Packers will go against a Lions defense that forgot how to tackle and surrendered a franchise-record 318 rushing yards to Atlanta in Week 1, including 220 by Michael Turner. Green Bay had great success running the ball against the Lions in both matchups last season, averaging nearly 6 yards per carry and going off for 217 yards in the final regular-season game.

Packers SS Atari Bigby vs. Lions passing attack
CBs Al Harris and Charles Woodson will be under the microscope more for their one-on-one matchups with Roy Williams and Calvin Johnson. Bigby, though, will have to play big in help coverage down the field. Having gained a reputation as a tenacious hitter, Bigby is coming into his own as a solid playmaker. He has five interceptions in the last five regular-season games, including an instinctive pick on an underthrown pass by Minnesota's Tarvaris Jackson in the final minute to seal the Packers' win Monday.

Jon Kitna figures to be throwing with frequency Sunday, so Bigby should have opportunities to make something happen.

Lions WR Roy Williams vs. Packers CB Al Harris
Williams often struggles against the Packers and he has great respect for the man who will be most responsible for covering him. Williams often says Harris is the toughest corner he faces because Harris is so physical with him off the line.

These are Williams' career yardage totals against the Packers: 13, 13, 53, 138, 11 and 32. That's one big performance among six games against a key division rival.

Lions RTs George Foster or Gosder Cherilus vs. Packers DE Aaron Kampman
The Lions face a dilemma: Should they start Foster, who gave a spotty performance in the opener at Atlanta, with John Abraham blowing past him with an inside move for a sack? Or should they give Cherilus, their first-round pick this year, his first NFL start? It seems they will start Foster. But either way, they are likely going to see mistakes against Kampman, one of the best left ends in the league, who had a sack in the Packers' opener.

Kampman had two sacks in each of his last two games against Detroit.

Packer Report Top Stories