Packers-Lions matchup of the day: Thursday

Posted Dec. 09, 2010 @ 2:22 p.m.
Posted By Dan Arkush

Here's a look at a key matchup heading into this Sunday's Week 14 battle between the Packers and Lions:

Lions DEs Cliff Avril, Turk McBride and Lawrence Jackson vs. Packers OTs Chad Clifton and Bryan Bulaga

The Packers are catching a big break in their second go-around with the Lions in not having to face DRE Kyle Vanden Bosch, who was placed on injured reserve Wednesday with a bulging disk in his neck. A savvy free-agent addition this past offseason who was previously a solid performer under Lions head coach Jim Schwartz with the Titans, Vanden Bosch's savvy and veteran leadership will be sorely missed.

Vanden Bosch was replaced in the starting lineup against the Bears last week by fourth-year journeyman Turk McBride, who played a very solid game against Chicago. Look for him to share duties at right end with ex-Seahawk Lawrence Jackson, a former first-round draft pick who has long arms and good speed but has a tendency to disappear. Collectively, they are a pretty significant downgrade from Vanden Bosch.

Avril, meanwhile, figures to be a much tougher matchup for Bulaga, who will have to be at his best this Sunday. After beefing up this past offseason, Avril fortified his already considerable pass-rush ability and is coming off a strong three-sack effort against the Bears (he has seven sacks for the season). Avril has a nonstop motor and is also very good against the run.

Clifton, who has held up well all season, came up with some concussion symptoms early in the week but apparently will be good to go on Sunday.