MNF Pick: Detroit Lions vs. Green Bay Packers
Detroit Lions (2-1-1 SU, 3-1 ATS) vs. Green Bay Packers (4-1 SU, 4-1 ATS)
NFL Week 6
Date and Time:Monday, October 14 at 8:15pm ET
Point Spread:DET +4.5/GB -4.5 (Bovada)
Division games in the NFL just so darn interesting, in my opinion. Roster turnover is high in today’s game, and free agency is always moving players to new teams, but the division rivalries seem to remain no matter who is playing where. The NFC North has some of the best rivalries in sport, and they all involve the Green Bay Packers. Detroit heads to Lambeau this weekend to take on Green Bay, and while Lions-Packers is arguably the friendliest NFC North scenario, this series is not free from ill-will. Ndamukong Suh added some fuel to the fire after kicking a Packer offensive lineman coming out of a pile during a 2011 contest and appeared to stomp on Aaron Rodgers’ ankle during a game in 2014. Rodgers was able to exact some revenge with The Miracle in Motown win via Hail Mary the next season, and he has generally handled the Lions during his career with 13 wins in 18 games and a QB rating of 109. Green Bay would stay right with the Saints in the top-tier of the NFC with a win, but this one is also important for Detroit as a small upset would send them to Week 7 with just one loss and suddenly in control of the North.
Well Rested v. Well-Travelled
One notable positive for Detroit will be that they are coming off a bye while Green Bay has had back-to-back tough games against Philadelphia and Dallas. The Packers have picked up some key injuries along the way with S Darnell Savage, CB Kevin King, and LB Za’Darius Smith, all listed as questionable for Monday Night. King leads the secondary with two interceptions, Savage has validated his first-round pick status, and Smith co-leads the team with five sacks, so these injuries are not limited to depth or role players. The Green Bay defense was allowing just 10.3 points per game after three weeks but has surrendered 29 per contest over the last two. A quick start by the Lions could be huge as Aaron Rodgers has wilted during each of the five games so far. Rodgers has a 133.6 QB rating in the first quarter this season, but just a 69.1 rating in the fourth and his yards per attempt drops from 10.7 early to 5.9 late. Davante Adams is still battling a toe issue, and Rodgers was only able to complete four passes to wide receivers last week with Adams out. Detroit has looked solid in close wins against the Eagles and Chargers and played the Chiefs to a four-point loss. Another strong effort could make this 4.5-point line relatively difficult for Green Bay to erase.
Looking to Stay Hot
While Green Bay has enjoyed plenty of success in this series, it is Detroit that enters the week winners of the last four games, both straight-up and against the spread. It is certainly notable that Rodgers only played in one of those four games and threw for 432 yards and three scores in a losing effort. The Lions have scored thirty points in each of the last four games against the Packers, but even Matt Patricia knows that trends go out the window once the ball is put in play. He mentioned to the Detroit press that he is tense about this matchup considering Rodgers could be seeking some sort of revenge and the fact that Green Bay has seen immediate improvement under their new head coach. Bettors are tense about Detroit as well as roughly 41% of the bets have come in on the Lions although the Packers are routinely one of the public betting favorites.
This point spread likely hinges on what Detroit is able to do on offense. The Lions enter the week ranked in the top-10 in passing and total yards while averaging 24.2 points per game, good for 12th. Green Bay counters with the 8th ranked defense in points allowed, but the Packers have been giving up a ton of yards, including 563 total against the Cowboys. Detroit brings good balance by averaging 120 rushing yards per game, and they will get to attack the 26th ranked run defense of Green Bay. Kerryon Johnson is averaging just 3.4 yards per carry, but Detroit has stuck with the run, and that has helped them be near the top of the league in time of possession. Keeping the defense fresh and the ball away from Rodgers is a good way to approach winning this game, so look for another run-heavy effort. Matthew Stafford has played well, throwing for nine touchdowns with a 102 rating and his WR duo of Marvin Jones and Kenny Golladay could be working against some back-up corners. Jones and Golladay have combined for 27 catches, 520 yards, and five scores as one of the more effective yet underrated 1-2 WR combos in the league.
Rodgers will have his say in things, and for his part, he will be working against a Detroit pass defense that is currently 30th in the league. The Lions are holding opposing QBs to a respectable average QB rating of 79, but they are allowing 280 passing yards per game, and the opposition has converted on 46% of third-down chances. Aaron Jones had his best game as a pro last week and should be in line for another solid effort against a defense allowing 4.8 yards per carry. He leads the NFC with eight touchdowns and comes in with 452 total yards through five games. If the run game is cooking again, it may not matter if Adams sits or if Rodgers continues to misfire to the likes of Geronimo Allison or Marques Valdez-Scantling. Detroit is dealing with a few injuries on the defense with DBs Quandre Diggs, and Darius Slay both listed as questionable with hamstring issues.
Detroit has won six of the last seven against the spread immediately following the bye and have a 4-1 ATS record in the last five on the road. Green Bay is 3-7 against the spread in their last ten against the NFC North, and a longterm trend has the favorite at 19-7 ATS in the last 26 in this series. The over is 4-1 in the last five Detroit games on MNF and the over is 6-1 in the last seven between these teams.
I think that Green Bay is definitely for real in terms of being a playoff team and potential NFC contender, but they do have some deficiencies. Dallas shot themselves in both feet and at least one hand last week, and I won’t say they handed GB a win, but the Packers didn’t do much beyond taking advantage of what was given to them. If Detroit plays a clean game and at least stays even in the turnover battle, they will have a legitimate chance to score enough points to stress out Green Bay. I don’t think the Packers can put enough band-aids on their injured defense in a week to suddenly stop giving up big yardage, and Matt Patricia is well aware of how well a run game can work in a big game scenario. Monday Night at Lambeau still belongs to the home team, but 4.5 is enough for me to take Detroit as I am predicting a 26-24 Packers win.
Ted’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread:Detroit
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