Packers expecting Lions' D-line to give them fits

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News

Allen Park — The Packers allowedmc three sacks in Week 1 and four sacks in Week 2. The Lions will hope to keep adding to their early offensive line struggles when the NFC North rivals play Sunday at Ford Field.

Using Green Bay left guard Josh Sitton's disparaging comments as fuel, Detroit sacked Matt Flynn seven times in the last meeting between the two teams, a 40-10 Lions victory on Thanksgiving last year.

But Aaron Rodgers is better than Flynn at every aspect of football, and the Lions are no longer worried about Sitton calling them "dirtbags."

"We're going to let that sit where it is," defensive tackle C.J. Mosley said. "That's in the past. It's a new day."

It's a new season, too, and so far, the Lions defensive line has been much more productive than in 2013. Even with the seven-sack performance on Thanksgiving, the Lions ranked 28th in the NFL with just 33 sacks last year.

Through two games, the Lions already have six sacks, and Mosley said offenses aren't using extra blockers to assist the offensive line as much as last season. Packers coach Mike McCarthy said on a teleconference that he's been impressed by the Lions defensive line so far, particularly the group's depth.

"They're very disciplined in their alignments and their technique," he said.

Rodgers also praised the group.

"Obviously it starts with Ndamukong Suh. He's a premiere player in the league," Rodgers aid. "He's a big time threat on the run downs. On pass downs, he's got very good transition from stopping the run to stopping the pass.

"It starts with trying to slow him down which frankly isn't achieved very often if at all. You got to be aware of where he's at."

The Lions' defensive line has also been crucial to the team ranking second in run defense so far, allowing just 57.5 yards per game. And even though Green Bay's Eddie Lacy will be the best back the Lions have faced yet, the main focus will be containing Rodgers and the lethal passing attack.

In Week 1, Seattle showed that pressuring Rodgers can slow the Green Bay offense. The Seahawk had three sacks on Rodgers, who finished 23 of 33 for 189 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

"I think there are definitely some things we can take from Seattle's defense," defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh said.

The Packers will have at least one new starter Sunday in rookie center Corey Linsley, who Mosley said has shown great effort the first two games.

"Cleans the pocket really well and somebody we've definitely got to pay attention to," he said of Linsley. "Sometimes on double-teams he's really aggressive, a great help-out guy."

Another new starter, Derek Sherrod, has been playing at right tackle, but Bryan Bulaga (knee) could return this week.

But the key matchup Sunday could be between Suh and the Green Bay interior, and even though Linsley is a rookie, Rodgers said he'll know what to expect from the Lions' All-Pro.

"He's a talented guy," Rodgers said. "Corey has been playing well for two games for us and he'll be ready to play."