The Green Bay Packers will welcome the Detroit Lions to town in Week 6 in a battle between two teams who have their sights set on winning the NFC North. Among all of the players suiting up on Monday night, Kenny Clark will be the biggest X-Factor for the Packers against Detroit.
To begin the season, the Lions have implemented a new offense under Darrell Bevell that runs the ball more often. Furthermore, Kerryon Johnson has carried it 74 times in four games for 251 yards and a touchdown.
Johnson has helped Detroit average 120.5 rushing yards per game (13th in the NFL). With that in mind, Clark and the Packers’ defense will need to focus on slowing down the rushing attack of the Lions in Week 6.
Over the first five weeks of the season, Green Bay’s defense has been much improved with the offseason additions. During the offseason, the Packers signed Za’Darius Smith, Preston Smith, and Adrian Amos to improve their defense alongside Clark.
As a result, their pass defense has been much better aside from last week’s game against the Dallas Cowboys. In that game, Dak Prescott threw for 463 yards versus the Packers. Thus, why Green Bay’s passing yards allowed per game was inflated after Week 5.
The pass defense has been phenomenal for the Packers but their run defense has been their glaring weakness this season. Currently, Green Bay has the 26th ranked run defense that has allowed 138.2 rushing yards per game.
Over the past four weeks, the Packers have had three games where they’ve given up 149 or more rushing yards. Therefore, Clark and the defensive line are going to have to dominate in the trenches to prevent Detroit from taking control of the game on the ground.
Clark is one of the most underrated defensive linemen in the NFL since he became a starter in 2017. At 6-foot-3, 315 pounds, Clark is a stout run defender that hasn’t played up to his usual standards this season.
The fourth-year defensive tackle has totaled 1.5 sacks and has yet to record a tackle for loss this season. In comparison, Clark combined for 10.5 sacks and 14 tackles for loss from 2017-2018.
For the Packers’ defense to have a chance of slowing down Detroit’s offense, Clark is going to need to have a productive game on Monday. In the event that Clark does have a big-time performance on Monday, Green Bay will be well on their way to being 5-1 and would take a decent lead in the NFC North.