The Detroit Lions hit the road on a short week as they head to Green Bay to take on the division rival Packers at Lambeau Field.
The Lions will no-doubt enter a hostile environment with Green Bay fans likely not forgetting how Detroit's last game at Lambeau Field Week 18 last year ended in a Lions win that knocked the Packers out of the playoffs.
Short weeks are always tricky for teams, especially from an injury perspective, so here are 5 things to watch out for tonight:
1. INACTIVE REPORT
This short week has mostly been about rest and recovery for players on both teams. Both are dealing with significant injuries along the offensive line, at the running back position and on defense. There were some impact players on both sides listed as questionable to play on Wednesday's injury report. Will those players be ready to go tonight? We'll know for certain 90 minutes before kickoff.
2. DEFENSIVE ENCORE
Detroit's defense had arguably their best performance of the season Sunday, holding the Falcons to just six points, 183 total yards of offense and 44 rushing yards for a team that was averaging 170.5 yards on the ground entering the contest. It was the most dominating performance on defense collectively across all three levels for Detroit in some time. The Lions also had seven sacks on the afternoon and 11 tackles for loss, playing in the Falcons' backfield all game.
Green Bay comes into tonight's contest ranked eighth in points scored (26.7), 23rd in total offense (297.7), 25th in rushing (90.3) and 19th in passing (207.3).
3. FIRST LOOK AT LOVE
The Aaron Rodgers era in Green Bay is over and the Jordan Love era at quarterback has been ushered in. Love orchestrated an 18-point come-from-behind win over New Orleans last week and has the Packers 2-1 to start the season.
He's completing just over 53 percent of his passes through three games, which the Packers would like to see improve, but he's got seven touchdowns to just one interception with a 94.7 passer rating.
"I think that what you really see is man, he's making some of these shot throws," Lions head coach Dan Campbell said this week. "He's pretty accurate downfield, and if it's not that, then he's giving his receivers a chance to make a play or draw a penalty. So, it's pretty accurate downfield.
"He's a good enough athlete in space to make things happen with his feet. I think he's running the ship pretty good over there right now. He understands what (Packers Head) Coach (Matt) LaFleur wants him to do. I think that makes him pretty tough."
4. SECOND-ROUND ROOKIES
LaPorta has totaled 18 receptions for 186 yards (10.3 avg.) and one touchdown through his first three NFL games. He's the first tight end in NFL history to log five-or-more receptions in each of his first three games. He currently has the most receptions by a tight end through three games and ranks second in yards.
"He's built a rapport with (Jared) Goff," Campbell said of LaPorta. "Goff has a lot of trust in him, and I think that's what it says probably more than anything."
Branch is an early Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate after recording 18 tackles, three tackles for loss, three passes defended and a pick-six through three games. He was the best defensive player on the field for the Lions Sunday vs. Atlanta, and that's saying something in just his third career game as a professional.
Can these two rookies continue their impressive play and help the Lions to a 3-1 start to the year?
View photos from the Detroit Lions' trip to Green Bay for their Week 4 game against the Packers.
5. ENDING THE QUARTER
Coaches always try to break up the season into quarters, and Thursday will mark the end of the first quarter of the Lions' season. With a win, Detroit would finish the quarter 3-1 and in first place in the NFC North.
At 3-1, the Lions would be in a great spot in the division with Green Bay having to come to Detroit for Thanksgiving and Chicago and Minnesota currently 0-3. They'd certainly be considered among the power players in the NFC behind only undefeated San Francisco and Philadelphia. A Thursday game means an extra-long week heading into their next four opponents in the second quarter of the season – vs. Carolina, at Tampa Bay, at Baltimore, vs. Las Vegas (Monday Night Football).
A 2-2 record with a loss to Green Bay certainly doesn't have the same feel. This is a big early-season matchup.