Jamaal Williams, D'Andre Swift Carrying Lions' Playoff Hopes

Detroit Lions RB Jamaal Williams
Detroit Lions RB Jamaal Williams
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

Welcome to All-32, a game-by-game preview of every matchup on the NFL slate each week. The goal is to provide a look at the most critical part of each game with a marriage of data and film study. As the season rolls along, the focus will narrow in on the specifics, but for this week, many of the featured players and units are big-picture projections for the teams in question.

If you're interested in our game picks, you can find them on this page.

In order to spend more time on games with stakes, a few matchups have been removed from this week's All-32. Saints-Panthers and Colts-Texans have no playoff ramifications as all four teams are already eliminated. The Bucs-Falcons game holds no stakes because the Bucs cannot move higher than the fourth seed and the Falcons cannot make the playoffs. All three games will be excluded this week.

Let's get to it. All times listed as Eastern.

Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers—Sunday, 8:20 p.m.

Key Unit: DET Run Game

Green Bay's pass defense has been better than you might think. Their Week 1 meltdown left a nasty taste in everyone's mouth, but they're 10th in pass defense DVOA this season, even with all the personnel shuffling they have done at safety and nickel. The run defense, however, is exactly as bad as you think. They rank 31st in run defense DVOA, faring better than only the Giants.

The Lions are a daunting matchup for them. Not only do the Lions run well generally, but they are an excellent bully-ball team. Their offensive line is loaded with big, beefy players who fare better as people-movers than as athletes in space (save for Penei Sewell, who is fantastic at both). The Lions thrive on counter, power, and duo. Only the Ravens have run more plays with those three concepts this season.

That's no good for the Packers. On those three run types—counter, power, and duo—the Packers rank 31st in yards per attempt allowed (6.3), EPA allowed per attempt (0.15), and positive play rate allowed (54.2%), per Sports Info Solutions. They simply do not have the defensive line talent to anchor against the double teams and down blocks that these run concepts produce. Kenny Clark is a car bomb in whatever gap he's playing, but nobody else on that defensive line holds their ground. Additionally, while rookie linebacker Quay Walker has been playing better lately overall, he is still better fit to play sideline to sideline rather than coming up to crack offensive linemen in the mouth, a stylistic "issue" made worse by how poor the defensive line in front of him is.

The Packers are going to have to hunker down up front. They did just that in the last matchup and held the Lions to under 4 yards per attempt, but the Lions got away from their typical power runs in that game for whatever reason. That shouldn't be the expectation heading into this game.