TNF Pick: Detroit Lions vs. Green Bay Packers
Detroit Lions (2-1 SU, 1-2 ATS) vs. Green Bay Packers (2-1 SU, 3-0 ATS)
Week 4 NFL
Date/Time: Thursday Night Football, September 28, 2023 at 8:15 PM EDT
Where: Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wisconsin
TV: Prime Video
Point Spread: DET -1.5/GB +1.5 (Bovada – Home of the web’s most incredible live betting platform!)
Money Line: Motor City -130, Pack +110
Over/Under Total: 45.5
The Detroit Lions take on the Green Bay Packers on Thursday Night Football in an NFC North showdown at Lambeau Field. The upstart Packers have overcome a lot of issues to get to 2-1 on the young season, beating the Saints on Sunday, 18-17, and also continuing to serve their backers well at the betting windows, going 3-0 ATS thus far. The Lions also moved to 2-1 on Sunday, bouncing back from a bad home loss the week prior, beating the Falcons, 20-6, at home on Sunday. They now take to the road in a familiar pairing on the short week. Who can we expect to rise up and get us the cover on Thursday Night Football?
What the First Several Weeks Tells Us
Is it not possible that Green Bay has at least mildly surpassed expectations while Detroit has fallen a little short? That might be taking the short view, as Detroit has beaten the Chiefs and just held Atlanta to 6 points. But they are still working in different pieces, namely a revamped run-game and dealing with some injuries. So, for the purposes of moving forward, it’d be abrupt to say Detroit is easy pickings. This much might be true, however, as they do seem to be a diminished force away from home. Good defenses like Atlanta’s can stifle them to some degree, and their own defense is not unexploitable by any means.
What Green Bay can do about this remains to be seen, as they are also dealing with injuries. It’s questionable whether on the short week, Green Bay can get Aaron Jones back in there or maybe see the delayed season debut of WR Christian Watson. But Green Bay isn’t doing so badly, despite being down 17-0 in the 4th quarter this past Sunday, before rallying with 18 points, with gutsy Green Bay QB Jordan Love running in a TD and hitting Romeo Doubs with a TD all in the final half of the last quarter to get the win. And a Saints offense that had success in the first half was blanked by the Green Bay “D” in the second half. Showing that kind of comeback ability and Love showing that late-game moxie could go a long way for this team.
Can the Packers Keep Pace?
For as much as this comes down to the Packers and their individual pieces, we still don’t really have a handle on the full scope of Detroit’s defensive powers. We know there are big-time players on that side of the ball, but their true level of stoutness is still up in the air after holding the Chiefs to 20 at Arrowhead and the Falcons to 6, sandwiching an offensive bonanza from Seattle. We know Detroit can bring some heat with a pass rush and turn games with some big plays here and there, but maybe one shouldn’t take much solace in holding a desultory road-Atlanta offense to six points.
A Green Bay offense, however, operating at less than full power, is not that appetizing, as last week’s first three quarters graphically illustrated. The Packers aren’t going to be able to rely on late-game theatrics every week, and against an offense like Detroit’s, they’re going to need to play a more even game and start a lot faster. In any event, the status of some banged-up members of their offense bears watching in the days and hours leading up to this game. Getting a ceiling-type performance at home against the incoming Lions will be key.
Challenges for Detroit
Jahmyr Gibbs is certainly a robust talent, and David Montgomery combines to make for a big 1-2 punch out of the backfield for the Lions to wield, particularly on a shaky run-defense like the one the Packers often bring to the table. The status of Montgomery and just the newness of this aspect of their offense puts them in a spot where they’re maybe less able to take advantage of the Packers’ main drawback on “D.” Alas, whereas the Packers are dealing with personnel issues on offense, the status of top corner Jaire Alexander is also up in the air, but the Packers’ “D” is better against the pass. It’s another piece of the puzzle to account for before game time.
For all the ground the Lions have covered, there are still a lot of levers and pulleys to coordinate. They need Jared Goff to be on-point. They need a “D” that can tend to bottom out to keep it together. They need a new look running-game to deliver. They need a bevy of young players to continue on a positive trajectory. Perhaps people have not made enough of an allowance for how a long-losing team like the Lions is going to experience a lot of bumps on the road to respectability. For whatever you may think of the Packers, I’m not sure the Lions have graduated to slam-dunk status at Lambeau.
Take the Small Home Dog
This is a game where the final call might come down to which team is shaking out better on the injury front as we approach game-time. If David Montgomery is in, that run game of Detroit’s could be enough to tilt the scales in their favor. If he’s out and the Packers get Alexander, Jones, and Watson back, or even 2 of them, it makes the Packers more attractive. While a more intact Detroit squad just might be the choice, I think the Packers’ defense can be respectable at home, with Love extracting just enough out of this offense to get it done. I’ll take Green Bay.
Loot’s Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I’m betting on the Green Bay Packers plus 1.5 points.