The Detroit Lions swept Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers last season in their two-game NFC North Division series.
That might give some coaches encouragement. Perhaps even an air of cockiness. But Lions coach Matt Patricia isn’t exactly chock-full of hubris as he prepares for a Monday night showdown with Rodgers and the 5-1 Packers at Lambeau Field.
“I think for us, it’s all about this year,” Patricia told Detroit reporters in a conference call Tuesday. “Probably makes me more nervous than anything, to be honest with you, just knowing what a competitor he is.
“So from my standpoint it’s all about trying to prepare and get ready this year and the things that they’re doing this year. Certainly they’re in a really good spot and they’re operating at a very high level, so we’ve got a big task in front of us.”
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Yes, Rodgers and the Packers’ offense are humming under rookie coach Matt LaFleur, as was evident in the 34-24 win against the host Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, with the help of running back Aaron Jones’ 107 rushing yards and four touchdowns.
But it’s the other Aaron that truly concerns Patricia. The Lions did a good job limiting Rodgers in two games last season, when he completed 61.4% of his passes, threw for 468 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. The Lions sacked Rodgers five times and in the season finale they steamrolled the Packers, 31-0, and he suffered a concussion.
Patricia, a longtime defensive coordinator, knows all too well who he’s going to find on the other side of the field Monday night.
“I think you guys know me well enough to know that I’m extremely competitive,” he said. “I want to win and everything I do I try to make sure I do it to the best of my abilities.
“But when you’re staring across the line of scrimmage at Aaron Rodgers, you know you’ve got a long day of work in front of you.”