Can Detroit’s running game be the difference?

Mike McCarthy’s team is a shaky 2-1-1 after four games. So can the Packers get a win in the Motor City against the unpredictable Lions?

Some may think it’s somewhat ludicrous that any player would be unhappy with his team coming away with a 22-point win. But not every player is Green Bay Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers, one of the premier stars in the league and one of the great players at his position. And when he voices his displeasure about his club and being “terrible on offense,”, a lot of ears will perk up.

And that includes head coach Mike McCarthy, who saw his team roll up 423 total yards on Sunday against the Buffalo Bills but reached the end zone only twice. And that second score came 11:05 into the second quarter as the team settled for field goals the rest of the afternoon.

“Hey, I’m no different, too,” McCarthy said Monday via Rob Demovsky of ESPN. “I’ve called a lot of games in this league and I’ve gone through a lot of game plans and still represent the team as a head coach. But when I closed my door last night and watched the game, I felt like we left a lot out there.”

And the head coach certainly didn’t appear to take Rodgers’ comments personally when he was asked about the critique. “I have good relationships, proper relationships, with all of our players,” added McCarthy. “Aaron and I, we have gone through a lot of years together, so I feel good about our relationship.”

Still, the 14-year performer may have a very good point. The Green Bay offense, which reached the end zone three times in the second half of their Week 1 comeback win over the Chicago Bears, has totaled only five touchdowns in the past 13 quarters (including the overtime tie with Minnesota).

Of course, the team could get healthy in a hurry against a Detroit Lions’ club that looked magnificent on a Sunday night at home against the New England Patriots and mediocre in their other three contests. Don’t be fooled by the team allowing the eighth-fewest total yards per contest in the league and the second-fewest passing yards per game. No club has allowed more yards per outing on the ground than Matt Patricia’s club, which has been gouged for 157.8 rushing yards per contest during the club’s 1-3 start.

Yes, Rodgers (who missed both games against the Lions in 2017) has certainly owned this rivalry during his career. He’s 13-3 as a starter vs. Detroit, throwing for 4,058 yards and 34 touchdowns while being picked off only six times in those 16 contests. But this could be an afternoon that running backs Aaron Jones and Jamal Williams dominate the action at Ford Field on Sunday.

McCarthy and Rodgers and the rest of the Packers are currently looking up at the Chicago Bears in the standings. But Green Bay also hasn’t lost a game within the division this season (1-0-1) and a victory at Detroit would go a long way down the road in an NFC North that figures to be a dogfight for the next three months.

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