The Detroit Lions are getting ready for their first divisional game against the Green Bay Packers on Monday.
Although it's only Week 5 the division race is heating up as Green Bay is 2-0 against the NFC North this year. This should be a close game with the winner of key matchups likely to get the victory.
With that said, here's seven matchups to keep your eyes on during Monday night.
6 matchups to watch for Lions-Packers:
Matthew Stafford vs Aaron Rodgers: While these guys won't be lining up across from each other, whomever plays better gives their team the best chance to win. Both guys have had similar seasons in a way with new offensive coordinators, inconsistent run games and improved defenses.
Matthew Stafford has the recent bragging rights, while Aaron Rodgers has given Lions' fans fits his whole career. We'll see who plays better – and more importantly – who gets the win Monday.
Lions' tackles vs the Smiths: The Lions' offensive line will have its hands full again Monday. Pass rushers Za'Darius Smith and Preston Smith (no relation) are tearing it up for the Packers this year. Preston has 5.5 sacks while Za'Darius isn't far behind with 5. According to ESPN the Packers are getting the most pressure in the NFL without blitzing. The Smiths are a huge part of causing that pressure.
Snacks Harrison vs the Packers' offensive line: The Packers had a big day on the ground against Dallas last week with running back Aaron Jones going for over 100 yards and 4 TDs. However, so far this year they only average 93 rushing yards a game (23rd in the NFL). To keep the Packers from having a second consecutive big day running the ball the Lions need Snacks Harrison to be at his best.
Detroit's edge rushers vs Bryan Bulaga: Bulaga is consistently named one of the best tackles in the league and this year he's off to a stellar start. According to The Athletic, Bulaga has not allowed a sack or even QB hit this year despite facing some of the league's best rushers, including Khalil Mack. We'll see if Trey Flowers, Romeo Okwara and maybe Da'Shawn Hand can change that.
Kenny Golladay vs Jaire Alexander: Alexander has burst onto the scene this season as one of the NFL's best young cornerbacks. He currently leads the league in passes defensed with 10. Kenny Golladay is also starting to get some recognition as one of the better young players at his position. As Golladay has become the Lions' number one receiver, expect Alexander to cover him most of the game.
JK Scott vs the Lions' punt return team: Yes, we're going to talk about punting for a second. JK Scott is one of the best punters in the league. He consistently punts the ball high and deep which doesn't allow for much of a chance to return the ball. We'll see if the Lions can work to get a few yards back on punt return.