Lions vs. Packers Point Spread Pick
Detroit Lions (0-1 SU, 0-1 ATS) vs. Green Bay Packers (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS)
Week 2 NFL
Date/Time: Sunday, September 20, 2020 at 1pm EDT
Where: Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wisconsin
Point Spread: DET +6/GB -6
Over/Under Total: 49.5
Nearly every NFL team loses at least two games each season, so starting 0-2 shouldn’t spell doom for any team, but it almost certainly does as just 12-of-98 teams that started 0-2 went on to make the playoffs since the start of the 2007 season. That is some bad news for the Detroit Lions, who are coming off a heartbreaking loss to Chicago in Week 1 and now travel to Green Bay to take on a Packers squad that looks to have a reinvigorated Aaron Rodgers at the helm. This rivalry doesn’t have the same juice that is present when Green Bay takes on Chicago or Minnesota, but games inside the NFC North are seldom friendly as a rule. Maybe a fan-less environment at Lambeau will help Detroit continue a run that has seen them win four of the last six games against Green Bay.
There are quite a few strong betting trends in play this week, and most of them are of the negative variety for Detroit, including just two ATS wins in their last twelve games overall. The Lions are 0-4 against the spread in their previous four games as underdogs on the road and 0-5 ATS in their last five road contests. Detroit has been very good against Green Bay of late, winning each of the previous six games against the spread in the series and 7-3 ATS during the last ten. Be careful in overplaying their 4-2 straight up record against the Packers in the previous six as Aaron Rodgers left one of those contests early and missed two others completely, so Detroit was cashing in against Brett Hundley and DeShone Kizer. Green Bay is 4-1 ATS in their last five as home favorites and 5-2 against the spread in their previous seven against division opponents. The favorite has a 12-4 ATS mark during the last sixteen between these teams, and the public thinks that trend will continue with 82% of the bets coming in on Green Bay as of mid-week.
Green Bay in a Groove?
After a 13-3 regular season in 2019, there were still questions about the Packers considering Aaron Rodgers looked like he may be starting to lose the race with Father Time. A-Rod certainly showed he has some left in the tank last week as he shredded what was thought to be a quality Minnesota defense. Rodgers completed 73% of his attempts and made several elite throws that were reminiscent of his vintage form from 2011-12. He continues to be one of the best in preventing turnovers and is the only player in NFL history with over 300 career TD passes and fewer than 100 interceptions. Davante Adams looked 100% coming off an injury-plagued 2019 season, and it seems like Green Bay has a couple of receiving options alongside him as both Marques Valdez-Scantling, and Allen Lazard found the endzone. Za’Darius Smith led the defense in sacks last season and got off on the right foot last week with one sack of Kirk Cousins. CB Jaire Alexander also got a sack and recorded one interception with another pass defended to look like the unquestioned leader in the Green Bay secondary. The only bad news for the Packers coming out of last week was the loss of OL Lane Taylor for the season. Guard Elgton Jenkins is also banged-up and questionable for Sunday, leaving Green Bay very thin on the offensive line. That may not be too detrimental against Detroit as the Lions were 31st in sacks for last season and recorded just one in the opener. DL Kenny Clark is listed as questionable with a groin injury, which would be a key loss for a front that was 25th in yards per rush allowed in 2019 and just gave up 6.1 yards per carry to the Vikings.
The Lions Lament
The rinse-and-repeat scenario for Detroit under Matt Patricia has been to play well early, build a lead but eventually lose the game, sometimes in an unimaginable fashion. That was the script again last week as Detroit built a 23-6 lead at home against Chicago before allowing 21 straight points and failing in their own furious comeback attempt when rookie RB D’Andre Swift dropped a would-be game-winning pass in the endzone. The good from Week 1 was a solid O-Line performance that opened plenty of holes, allowing an ageless Adrian Peterson to notch 93 rushing yards. Without Kenny Golladay, Matt Stafford was still able to throw for nearly 300 yards and spread it out well with six different Lions recording at least three receptions. Golladay remains questionable with a hamstring issue, but it looks like Detroit is in decent shape with rookie Quintez Cephus seeing ten targets last week. The Lions secondary has been bit by the injury bug with three DBs dealing with hamstring injuries, including Desmond Trufant. That group will be vital in limiting the damage Rodgers might do, and potentially relying on backups and rookies is probably not the best recommendation.
Lean on the Home Favorite
Despite the recent ATS success Detroit has had in the series, the fact remains that Aaron Rodgers has a 15-5 career record against the Lions, averaging 2.1 passing touchdowns per game with just eight interceptions over that span. I don’t see how Detroit wins this with Rodgers taking good care of the ball, so the question is just about that six-point spread. Green Bay looked efficient and explosive after a little bit of a slow start last week, and it could have been even better as Packer receivers dropped three passes. Aaron Jones is the leader of the Green Bay backfield, but a multi-tool timeshare is emerging under Matt LaFleur, and that RB committee racked up 158 rushing yards last week. Look for more of the same with Detroit, allowing 5.3 yards per rush against Chicago. Maybe I would feel a little different about Detroit if they were able to sneak out a win last week, but as of now, they are just the same old team that is still trying to figure out how to win. Matt Patricia has had a lead in 20 of his 33 career games as a head coach, but the Lions have found a way to lose on eleven of those occasions. The game remains close into the second half, but Green Bay eventually pulls away and nets a relatively comfortable 31-20 win.
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