Detroit Lions vs. Green Bay Packers Prediction ATS

by | Jan 6, 2023 | nfl

Detroit Lions (8-8 SU, 11-5 ATS) v. Green Bay Packers (8-8 SU, 8-8 ATS)
NFL Week 18
When: Sunday, January 8 at 8:20 pm ET
Where: Lambeau Field – Green Bay, WI
Watch: NBC

Point Spread: DET +4.5/GB -4.5
Over/Under Total: 49.5

Time flies when you are having fun, and here we are in Week 18. There are just a few postseason odds and ends to sort out and the Lions-Packers being flexed to Sunday Night means we will all get to see the last NFC playoff domino fall. Both teams sit at 8-8, and this will be a winner-take-all scenario if the Rams can upset the Seahawks earlier in the day. A Seattle win would have Detroit playing for nothing other than the satisfaction of keeping Green Bay out of the playoffs, but this should be one of the best games on the slate regardless of what is actually at stake come kickoff. Even if Detroit is drawing dead, I can’t imagine they simply hand this game to a hated division rival. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers are one win away from officially pulling this season out of the fire, and all of a sudden, this team has a similar feel to the 2010 team that went on to win it all.

Trend Watch

Detroit has the second most ATS wins this season behind the Giants and Bengals, and they are a remarkable 12-2 against the spread in their last fourteen division opponents. Detroit has won eight of the last nine against the spread overall and has a 9-2 ATS mark in the last eleven games against Green Bay. The home team is riding a six-game ATS win streak, and Green Bay is riding a four-game streak against the spread into the weekend. Long story short, these are two of the hottest teams in the league, both straight-up and against the spread. The Over has hit in five of the last seven Detroit games against an NFC North foe, and the Over is 5-2 when Green Bay plays at home. The Over has hit in 14-of-17 Green Bay games in January. About 60% of the public money is on Green Bay at -4.5, and that could be somewhat tied to the thought that Detroit may not have anything to play for. The Lions have typically been a betting favorite during their hot streak. Nearly 65% of the bets are coming in on the Over.

Turning Point

This season will be looked at as a major turning point for the Lions franchise if they go on to continued success, and Week 9 was when it all turned around. Detroit was 1-6, but they held off Green Bay at Ford Field by a 15-9 score and have only lost twice since then. The Lions picked off three against Rodgers and held Green Bay to one field goal on four red zone trips while Jared Goff threw two touchdown passes in the win. Goff has piloted the 8th best passing game in the league, and Detroit averages 27.1 points per game, good for 5th in the league. He has thrown for 29 touchdowns against seven interceptions, and his passer rating is tied for 5th. Jamaal Williams is six yards shy of 1,000 on the season, and his 15 rushing touchdowns lead the league. D’Andre Swift is the more dynamic runner at 5.6 yards per carry, but Williams has taken the bulk of the carries, which has helped to keep Swift healthy, and he is second on the team with eight combined touchdowns. Amon-Ra St. Brown (100-1112-6) leads the team in all receiving categories and stands a good chance of being a Pro Bowl alternate. This offense has notably only improved after trading TE T.J. Hockenson away before the deadline, with role players like DJ Chark and Kalif Raymond chipping in behind St. Brown. Six different Detroit pass-catchers have at least three TD receptions on the season. The defense is statistically poor, with bottom-5 ranks in points allowed (25.7), and no one has given up more yards per game than the Lions have this season. That said, Aidan Hutchinson has been a one-man gang with 7.5 sacks, two fumble recoveries, and three interceptions in his rookie campaign.

Timing is Everything

Green Bay sat at 4-8 after a Week 12 loss to Philadelphia, and it appeared that all was lost, but a mediocre NFC coupled with a four-game win streak has the Packers primed for a playoff run. They even have that look of a team that no one wants to play, considering their offensive identity has come into focus just as their defense started piling up the takeaways. The running back duo of Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon is arguably the most complete backfield in the league. They have combined for 1,810 rushing yards and nine scores, with 84 receptions between them and five more touchdowns. Green Bay has used the running game to control the clock and take some pressure off of Rodgers as he continues to find a rhythm with his young receivers. Allen Lazard (56-747-5) leads the team in catches and yards but may be most valuable as one of the best run-blocking wide receivers in the league. Christian Watson has cooled a bit in recent weeks as defenses have schemed against him, but his nine touchdowns are most on the team, and he is taking the top off the defense, allowing vets like Robert Tonyan and Randall Cobb to work underneath. Green Bay’s defense has recovered from a slow start and injuries to key players like Rashan Gary to rank third in takeaways as we enter the week, and Jaire Alexander leads the team with five interceptions and 14 pass defenses. Preston Smith leads all pass rushers with 8.5 sacks, but this has been a group effort over the winning streak, with nine sacks in just the last three weeks.

Green Bay Bangs the Drum in Week 18

Todd Rundgren’s 1982 hit echoes through Lambeau Field after every Packers touchdown, and I think we are going to hear it plenty come Sunday Night. Aaron Rodgers has been far from perfect this season. He hasn’t thrown for more than 291 yards in any single game, but he has a swagger back, and a confident Rodgers is a dangerous one. Jones and Dillon will control the pace, and this resurgent defense will hold down Jared Goff, who has thrown for just six touchdowns away from home this season. Jaire Alexander shut down Justin Jefferson with a bit of help from some bracket coverage, but no matter how it was done, this secondary is again turning the opponent over and limiting #1 receivers. Rodgers finds Watson for a score after a few-week drought and look for both backs to score as Green Bay secures the 7-seed with a 29-20 win. It’s been a great run for Detroit, and their arrow is definitely pointing up, but this is the wrong time to expect a win in Lambeau.

Pick to Cover the Spread: Green Bay

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