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NFL Betting: Lions vs. Packers Preview

Posted by Stan Jenkins on 12/27/2014 9:23:36 PM

The Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers will engage in a classic battle on Sunday afternoon. The winner wins the division and gets a first-round bye in the playoffs. The loser will probably be the sixth and last seed in the NFC playoffs.

Detroit Lions @ Green Bay Packers – Sunday, December 28

The Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers are both 11-4, which is four and a half games better than the Carolina Panthers. Yet, just like Carolina, Detroit and Green Bay have not yet won their division. They will win the division with a victory this Sunday. It might not be fair, but that’s the way it is.

If you look strictly at statistics and some recent facts that are part of the backdrop to this game, you might think that Detroit has a really good chance of winning this game. For one thing, the Lions’ defense has been the backbone of the team all season long. Despite the presence of Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush on the offense, the Lions have been driven by their defense, which has a terrific front four and is first in the NFL against the run. Detroit’s ability to shut down opposing teams’ running games has made the Lions a rock on that side of the line of scrimmage. The Lions have allowed more than 17 points in only one of their past seven games. That’s a tremendous run of consistency eclipsed by only a few teams in the league, chiefly the Seattle Seahawks. Detroit’s defense held Green Bay to only seven points earlier in the season. The Lions can win this game with their defense.

What will also lead some people to think that a close game is in the offing is the fact that Aaron Rodgers of Green Bay suffered a strained calf this past Sunday against Tampa Bay. He didn’t look horrible, but he was not at his best, and part of Rodgers’ game is moving around in the pocket to buy time. If Rodgers is not 100 percent, it might be possible for Detroit to shut down the Packers yet again, not merely contain Green Bay to somewhere in the area of 20 points or so, which a lot of NFL teams wouldn’t mind at all.

What is also worth pointing out is that Green Bay and Rodgers have struggled the past two weeks. Green Bay had scored at least 43 points in three of five games starting on Nov. 9, but the last two weeks, the Packers have been held under 21 points. This team is not peaking at the right time. Detroit’s defense is coming.

Then, however, one must realize that this game is being played in Lambeau Field, where the Lions have not won since 1991. This is a house of horrors for the Lions, and what comes across is the fact that Detroit has not played well on offense for most of the season. The Lions have scored more than 24 points only three times in 15 games. They have so many weapons, but have not been able to get a lot of production out of them. The reason the Lions are 11-4 is that with their defense playing so well, the offense has not made as many crucial mistakes in fourth quarters of games. However, Detroit can’t merely avoid mistakes against the Packers. It must make lots of big plays. That deficiency is why Green Bay should cover the spread here.

Pick: Packers -7.5

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