Detroit Lions (1-7 SU, 1-7 ATS) vs. Green Bay Packers (6-2 SU, 5-3 ATS)
NFL Week 10
Date/Time: November 15th/1pm ET
Where: Lambeau Field
by Evergreen, NFL Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: DET +11/GB -11
Over/Under Total: 47.5
Division games often make for the best weekly matchups in the NFL but not always. Case in point is this weeks tilt between the Detroit Lions and the Green Bay Packers. Even if you ignore the generic fact that Aaron Rodgers has owned the NFC North since he took over the Packer helm, this Lions team looks less capable of going into Green Bay and putting together a solid performance than many recent Detroit teams and that includes the 0-16 version of the Lions. Detroit has made changes on the coaching staff and is coming off a bye so I guess they are as ready as they can be to take on the Packers in Lambeau.
Green Bay is appropriately a big favorite against a 1-7 Detroit team and the online betting sites like the Packers as 11 point favorites. The Lions are 0-4 against the spread I their last four trips to Green Bay and the favorite has six straight ATS wins in this series. Green Bay is 5-1 ATS in their last six against division opponents while Detroit has put up an 0-6 ATS mark against NFC North foes.
After playing teams like Seattle and San Diego close, the Lions have been dropped by Arizona, 42-17, and it must have been a long flight home from London after Kansas City crushed Detroit, 45-10. The Lions only win came in Week 6 as they edged the Bears by a 37-34 score and they still trail Chicago by two full in the NFC North standings. It would be easy to put much of the blame on the Detroit offense as that side of the ball has more household names but the defense really needs to take a look in the mirror. The Lions are allowing league-worst 30.6 points per game and have been getting pounded by the run, allowing 133 rushing yards per game. That kind of defense puts a ton of pressure on the offense and it has been too much to bear for Matthew Stafford and company. Detroit enters the week as the worst rushing team in the NFL, averaging just 69 yards per game but those numbers are skewed in part by the Lions having to throw so often while chasing points.
Before you think this is simply a Detroit-bashing preview, let me show you my distaste as it pertains to the Packers. Anyone that has watched more than a few quarters of Green Bay football this year knows the Packers are in trouble unless they can come up with a better plan than lets let Aaron Rodgers carry us. Rodgers hasnt been enough in the last two weeks and that two game losing streak has started to show the cracks on the Packers sideline as tablets have been thrown and the defense has resorted to pushing and shoving after giving up scores. Even wins against St. Louis and San Diego demonstrated that there is little continuity on either side of the ball. Now, the good news is that Green Bay has been great at responding to injuries and other distractions in years past remember Rodgers R-E-L-A-X comment last year and a visit from the Lions is likely going to make for a good deodorant.
When you look at the Green Bay offense, you know what you get from No.12. The running game has been anemic with Eddie Lacy banged up and struggling to find room behind a shoddy offensive line and the Packers will turn to James Starks as the lead back against Detroit. Starks has been the most dynamic runner on the Packers so far and is a solid pass-catcher so that decision is likely an on field upgrade for the offense. Randall Cobb and James Jones have been good but inconsistent at times so the return to health of Davante Adams was a welcome sight last week. The Packers do not give up a ton of points but has slipped into the bottom third across the board in terms of yards allowed. Fatigue has been a factor for the defense, especially during the Denver and Carolina losses, and that has limited the effectiveness of speed players like Clay Matthews.
James Robert Cooter, Jim Bob as he prefers, has taken over the offense in Detroit. He has solid weapons to use, especially stalwart receivers like Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate but it would be nice if Detroit could get some running game momentum. Neither Ameer Abdullah, Joique Bell or even Zach Zenner have been able to average more than 3.6 yards per carry and that has put Stafford in too many third and long situations. The result has been 11 interceptions already but the Lions have had to lean on the 9th ranked passing game as their only option. Eric Ebron has been coming along as a playmaker over the middle and has three touchdown grabs in just six games played. Look for him to have an impact this weekend as Green Bay struggles to cover the tight end.
The problems in Green Bay are real but they really only matter when the Packers play a team that is their equal in terms of overall talent and Detroit is not that. Lambeau is not a place to attempt to get back on track and Detroit is facing a tall task despite having an extra week to prep for a familiar opponent. Green Bay, despite all the warts exposed in the last couple of games, is the team to take this week. Rodgers will be his usual self at home and the recent play of Richard Rodgers at tight end has given A-Rod another quality target as he adjusts to life without Jordy Nelson. There are several injuries in Green Bays secondary but it is my thought that the Packers are up early in this one and that is when the Packers defense is at its best. Matthews and Julius Peppers will be free to hunt down Stafford in this one instead of playing the run and covering underneath and that will eventually spell disaster for Detroit. I hate giving up double digits but the Lions are exactly what the Packers need right now to get right and they will do so going away. Packers 28 Lions 13
Evergreens Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Green Bay
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