Green Bay Packers (5-5-1 SU, 5-6 ATS) vs. Detroit Lions (6-5 SU, 5-6 ATS)
NFL Week 13
Date and Time: Thanksgiving Day, November 28, 12:30 pm ET
Where: Ford Field
by Evergreen, Pro Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: GB +5.5/DET -5.5
Over/Under Total: 49.5
Happy Turkey Day to all! One of my favorite holidays is right upon us and
it is my favorite in part because of the traditional NFL daylong extravaganza.
Alright, it really isn’t any different than a normal Sunday slate of games
but too much food and too much family just seem to make the games that much
more special. The earliest tilt on the Thanksgiving plate has the Green
Bay Packers off to Motown to take on the Detroit Lions. This has been
a standard rivalry game in the NFC North, especially since the Lions have
always played the Pack tough on this holiday no matter what the records
have been. Add in an Ndamukong Suh footstomp every now and then and you
get some must watch TV. The Lions can really enhance their division standing
with a win and the Packers are looking to do the seemingly impossible, win
a game without Aaron Rodgers.
Vegas and the betting sites were mum about a line until Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy came out in his Monday presser and said Rodgers’ playing chances stood between slim and none. The Packers haven’t named a starting QB yet but the no-go for A-Rod was enough for the online sportsbooks to install Detroit as a five and half point favorite with the over/under at forty nine and a half. There are some six and six and half point lines out there, so shop around, especially if you are one the fence at five and half.
The Packers did a heckuva job in not losing last week, coming back from a 23-7 deficit against the Vikings to force overtime and an eventual tie. That tie was important to their playoff chances as both the Lions and Bears fell in their games and the Pack picked up a half game in the process. It doesn’t look like there will be a wildcard coming out the NFC North so that puts even more on the line come Thursday for these teams. While the tie was ultimately good, the Packers still showed they are far from the team that they are with Rodgers at the helm and they will take a step up in class against an offensively superior team away from Lambeau.
And that is what it all boils down to in this one, Detroit’s offense against Green Bay’s defense. The Lions have one of the best passing attacks in the league and the Packers defense is equal parts hurt and lacking quality talent. At some point, you have to have a name to cancel out the name on the other side of the ball or it just isn’t going to go well for you and Clay Matthews is not enough to cancel out Matt Stafford, Calvin Johnson, and Reggie Bush. Nate Burleson is also back for the Lions, so the Pack has another body to cover with a very depleted secondary. Even with Rodgers at full strength, Green Bay would have likely had to win this one in a shootout so this is starting to look bad for Packers fans.
Matt Flynn will likely get the start for the Packers come Thursday and he did perform well after replacing Scott Tolzien last Sunday. Flynn finished 21 for 36 for 218 yards and a touchdown in a little more than a half but he has just a couple days to prep with the short week ahead. He should know most of what Detroit will bring after spending his apprenticeship days in Green Bay but you’d have to guess that the Packers will be happy to get 20-23 points out of their offense as they were having some trouble scoring consistently even with Rodgers in there. I’m sure the front line for Detroit’s defense will be happy to greet Mr. Flynn; it was in fact many of these same Lions that Flynn passed for a record 480 yards and six touchdowns against just a couple years ago.
And that really is the other key to this game. What is the expectation for the Packers offense without Rodgers this week? Assuming the Lions get their points as it seems they will, can Green Bay move the ball and score enough to keep it close? The Packers best offensive weapon has been rookie running back Eddie Lacy. It doesn’t too much film study to see what kind of impact runner he is but he is a rookie in the later part of the season and just about everyone knows he is getting the ball. The Detroit line is tough to run against and the Packers have not shown an ability to convert third and long situations so the consistent offense Green Bay will need appears to be a tough get.
Green Bay is a bottom third team without #12 and Detroit is just too good on offense to bet against in this one. Reggie Bush and the Detroit tight ends will really stress the coverage for the Packers linebackers and that will ultimately be where the most damage is done. Without Calvin Johnson the first meeting this year, Stafford hit the TE’s and RB’s for sixteen receptions so look for that to remain in the gameplan even with Megatron back in the fold. Suh, Fairly and Ansah play fast on that turf and that will cause problems for any Green Bay quarterback, especially with injuries coming into play on the Packers offensive line again. Detroit can be dysfunctional at times, but a little dysfunction shouldn’t stop them this week and I do not think the five and half points are too much to give. The short week and injuries just cripple Green Bay again and Detroit grabs a hold of this division race with a 30-16 win.
Evergreen’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Detroit Lions minus the points.