2021 season preview: Lions-Packers

Opponent: Green Bay Packers

Locations: Lambeau Field (Week 2) & Ford Field (Week 18)

Weeks/Dates: Week 2, Monday Night Football on Sept. 20 at 8:30 p.m. & Week 18, Sunday, Jan. 9 at 1:00 p.m.

TV/radio: ESPN/97.1 & FOX/97.1 FM

Previous matchup: Sept. 16, 2018: The Packers beat the Lions 31-24 at Ford Field in Week 14 of the 2020 season.

Why these games matter: Division games count double because of their impact on the standings, but they've been double trouble for the Lions in the last three seasons. The Lions are a combined 3-15 against NFC North rivals in the last three years, with season records of 2-4, 0-6 and 1-5 from 2018-2020.

The way the 2021 schedule is set up could work in the Lions' favor. They play the Packers at Lambeau Field Week 2 on Monday Night Football and finish the season at home against the Packers Week 18.

The Lions are long shots to be division contenders, but at least on paper there's a chance to get a good start against the Packers and finish the same way. – Mike O'Hara

Crucial matchup: Cornerback Jeff Okudah vs. wide receiver Davante Adams. Last year's Week 2 matchup against Green Bay was the NFL debut for Okudah, and the Packers went after the rookie. Okudah was targeted 10 times and allowed seven catches for 121 yards in his coverage area. Adams is one of the best receivers in the game, and that was a tough matchup for Okudah's NFL debut.

With a year under his belt, how will this one shake out this time around? – Tim Twentyman

Rookie watch: Linebacker Derrick Barnes. Matchups like what the Lions face defending Packers running back Aaron Jones are why the Lions drafted Barnes.

Barnes' versatility, high football character and ability to attack ball carriers from sideline to sideline stand out. It's a skill set required to deal with what Jones did to the Lions in the first meeting in 2020: 168 yards rushing, two TDs, with a 75-yard TD run on the first play of the second half.

Playing behind two rookie linemen -- Levi Onwuzurike (second round) and Alim McNeill (third) -- should help contain Jones. – Mike O'Hara

WEEK 2 · Mon 09/20 · 8:30 PM EDT



Green Bay Packers

Lambeau Field

WEEK 18 · Sun 01/09 · 1:00 PM EST


Green Bay Packers

Ford Field