It seems that the fortunes of both the Green Bay Packers and the Detroit Lions have changed. The Lions are on a three game winning streak after starting the season 1-7, while the Packers have lost four out of their last five games after starting the season 6-0. Despite the recent slide, Green Bay finds themselves a -3.0 favorite against Detroit on the road. Why are the Packers still getting the benefit of the doubt?
Thursday Night Football: Green Bay Packers vs. Detroit Lions
Point Spread: Packers -3 Over/under: 47 Date: Thursday, December 3, 8:25pm ET Location:Ford Field, Detroit, MI
Green Bay Packers
Who would have thought that the running game would be the most important factor in Green Bay’s offensive plan? With Aaron Rodgers not at his best, and the rash of dropped passes by receivers, Eddie Lacy and James Starks need to have a good game against Detroit. Without an effective run game, Green Bay will be forced to move the ball with their suddenly inept passing offense. Rodgers threw 61 passes and connected on just over half of those attempts in their first meeting this season. Balance needs to be restored. The point spread is currently favoring the Packers at -3.
Similarly, who would have thought that the Packers’ defense would be keeping this team afloat? Green Bay relies on a bend-but-don’t-break style, giving up big yardage but keeping teams to just over 19 points per game, sixth best in the league. They’ll need to have a good game against the revived Lions offense, keeping Calvin Johnson in check and hoping to limit the running game. More importantly, they’ll need to get to Matt Stafford and not allow him to escape pressure like he did in the first meeting of the season.
If there was ever a case of a team being fired up after getting rid of some personnel, the +3 underdog Lions are it. Despite being ranked near the bottom of the league in total defense, they’ve kept their last three opponents to 16, 13 and 14 points. The state of Green Bay’s offense makes stopping the run priority number one. Priority number two is not allowing Rodgers to escape the pocket, where he’s one of the most accurate in the league. Doing these two things could get the Lions their first season sweep of the Packers since 1991.
What a difference a new offensive coordinator has made for this organization. With Jim Bob Cooter calling plays, the Lions have finally started seeing the offensive production that made them a playoff team last year. Detroit is capable of putting up big numbers through the air due to the Packers’ inconsistent pass rush. If they can keep Stafford upright, it should give him enough time to pick apart Green Bay’s depleted secondary; most likely on bubble screens and shallow crossing routes over the middle.
Thursday Night Football Prediction
The Packers are on quite the slide but are still picked as favorites each week. It’s likely that they’re benefiting from the Aaron Rodgers effect, which is based on the theory that as long as he’s under center, they’re the better team. Anyone who’s seen what Rodgers is capable of would agree, but after the last few weeks, it’s hard to believe they’re still favorites.
Check out the rest of our best picks against the spread for all the Week 13 NFL action!