Green Bay Packers (9-1) -3.5, 46.5 O/U at Detroit Lions (6-4) +3.5, Ford Field, Detroit, 12.30pm EST Thursday
by The Crazy Snake of Predictem.com
If the Lions want to challenge for the NFC North crown they have to win this and the return match up at Lambeau in week 17. In addition, they will have to win one more game than the Pack in between time. That is the equation, barring a monumental meltdown from the Packers for the rest of the season.
The only trouble with that equation as I see it is that it appears to be the Lions who look the more likely to fall off the pace of their fast start than the Packers. Having lost their past 2, the Lions have struggled with protection of Kitna in their pass happy offense. Though they only gave up 3 sacks to the Giants last week, they were all to Michael Strahan which would suggest susceptibility at right guard. But the Giants created heavy pressure in adding 3 interceptions to those numbers, which indicates a weakness in the general protection scheme of their somewhat immobile quarterback. The Lions absolutely must have a solid game from Kevin Jones if they hope to remain competitive here. If they try to shoot it out with Green Bay, Kitna will get beaten up.
Meanwhile, the Pack is up and about and showing no signs of slowing. They are 4-0 ATS away and 2-0 ATS as an away favorite. Solid numbers indeed for a team that many pundits had as a .500 team at best at the start of the season. Brett Favre is playing the best football he has played in many seasons, ably backed up by his rookie running back, Ryan Grant, who has added a dimension to a Green Bay offense many believed would be missing rushing bite. He does, however, have an ankle injury which may affect his efficacy in this game and put added pressure on Favre. Green Bay is a passing offense, however, and the offensive line is far better at protecting their QB than that of the opposing team. The deep threat of Jennings against the Lion’s lowly ranked pass defense will open up shorter drops for Driver et al and in turn create time and space for the deep bomb.
I do expect the Lions to rise to the occasion of a prime time game, but Favre and the Packers will do the same. My numbers suggest the Packers will win the game but the margin is more problematic. Most bookies opened at -3 on the Packers and I would have been comfortable to give up the points. With the added half point now matters are a little trickier. I still think the logical play here is the Pack as I see them winning by more than the 3 if they show up. The short break for both teams can be problematic at times.
The Snake’s Bite: Let’s take the Pack at the -3.5 here. I like Favre on the road in big games and the season numbers support that assertion. The Lions have looked to have some chinks appearing in the armour in recent times and the flood gates could really open up here if they slip again.