The Detroit Lions will be kicking off against Green Bay at 7:30 p.m. Monday night. When they do, there will be 12 former Texas high school players taking the field and they’re some pretty big names.
You’ll recognize Lion quarterback Matt Stafford, the pride of Highland Park. Stafford is still having a great year, despite his teams 3-4 record. His more than 1,800 passing yards and only four interceptions will prove difficult for a Packer defense that has a lackluster offense behind it.
From Texas as well is Stafford’s center, Travis Swanson, who will need a big game. Keeping Stafford on his feet will be a tall task as the Packers are eighth in the league with 24 sacks this year.
The Lion defense has it’s own trio of Texans, as A’Shawn Robinson (Arlington Heights), Quandre Diggs (Angleton) and D.J. Hayden (FB Elkins) are all suiting up. For Detroit, getting pressure on the young Packer quarterback Brett Hundley will be essential to win. Hundley has a lonely one touchdown to four interceptions since taking over for Aaron Rogers.
The Packers will be relying of course on Hundley. Thankfully for the UCLA product, he has five Texans on his side of the ball, if you believe that helps.
On the line, he’s got Lane Taylor, who’s made quite a name for himself in the NFL. Catching passes he’ll have Martellus Bennett, who caught two passes from Hundley in his start against New Orleans. As of publishing time, Bennett is listed as doubtful. But the offense will need all hands on deck in hopes of a win to keep playoff hopes alive.
In the backfield, Hundley will have Aaron Jones (EP Burges), Ty Montgomery (St. Mark’s) and Aaron Ripkowski (Dayton).
Jones has clearly had the better year, with only two more carries than Montgomery but nearly 200 more yards. Ripkowski’s play will be watched closely as the Packers may rely on the run game more than ever.
Both of these teams are not having the year imagined. But they will need all 12 of these Texans, and a few lucky breaks, to stay in the playoff race. As of right now, the Lions are in third in the NFC North. With a win, Detroit would push itself into first behind division-leading Minnesota.
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