NFL Thursday Night Football Picks: Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions
Thursday, December 3, 2015, 8:25 pm Eastern, TV: CBS, NFL Sunday Ticket
Ford Field – Detroit, Michigan
Opening Line: Green Bay -3
Current Line: Green Bay -3 (+100)
Opening Total: 47
Current Total: 46 1/2
Opening Money Line: Packers -160 / Lions +140
Current Money Line: Packers -155 / Lions +135

The packers travel to the Lions Thursday night in a key NFC North battle.
The packers travel to the Lions Thursday night in a key NFC North battle.

After a 6-0 start, the Green Bay Packers have lost four of their last five games. The 7-4 Packers are a game behind the 8-3  Minnesota Vikings in the NFC North. Green Bay would currently make the playoffs as the #5 seed in the NFC. The Packers travel to the 4-7 Detroit Lions Thursday night. Detroit started off the season 0-5 and were 1-7 at one point. However, three straight wins have put the Lions on the fringe of the playoff race.

Green Bay leads the series 97-68-7 against Detroit. The two teams have been playing since 1930. The Lions have won three of the last four games against the Packers, including 18-16 three weeks ago in Green Bay. The Packers missed a potential game tying two point conversion late, but recovered an onside kick. However, the Packers missed the game winning field goal attempt on the last play of the game. It was the first win for Detroit in Green Bay since 1991.

Green Bay is coached by Mike McCarthy. The Packers have home wins over the Seattle Seahawks 27-17, Kansas City Chiefs 38-28, St. Louis Rams 24-10 and San Diego Chargers 27-20, along with road wins at the Chicago Bears 31-23, San Francisco 49ers 17-3 and Minnesota Vikings 30-13. Green Bay has road losses at the Denver Broncos 29-10 and Carolina Panthers 37-29, along with  home losses to the Lions 18-16 and last week against the Bears 17-13.

After a convincing win against the Vikings the week before snapped a three game losing streak, Green Bay appeared to be back on track. The Packers were 7.5 point favorites against the Bears and the total was 45 on Thanksgiving. Chicago led 14-13 at halftime. Neither team scored in the third quarter. Chicago added a field goal early in the fourth to make it 17-13. Green Bay drove to midfield before Aaron Rodgers threw an interception. The Packers forced a three and out and took over at their own 20 with 2:45 left. The Packers drove down to the Chicago 8, but Rodgers’ pass on fourth down was incomplete. Chicago held on for the upset. Green Bay had 365 total yards to 290 for Chicago, but the Packers were unable to overcome 2 turnovers. The Packers are 6-5 ATS and the total is 3-8 this season.

Detroit is coached by Jim Caldwell. The Lions’ have home wins over the Chicago Bears 37-34, Oakland Raiders 18-13 and Philadelphia Eagles 45-14 on Thanksgiving, and at the Green Bay Packers 18-16. The Lions have won three straight games after a 1-7 start.  Detroit has road losses at the San Diego Chargers 33-28, Minnesota Vikings 26-16, and Seattle Seahawks 13-10, along with home losses to the Denver Broncos 24-12, Arizona Cardinals 42-17 and Vikings 28-19, plus a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs  45-10 in London.

Detroit was a three point favorite against Philadelphia last Thursday and the total was 46.5. The Eagles tied it at 7 early in the second. However, Detroit would score 38 straight points in the rout. Philadelphia added a late meaningless touchdown to make the final 45-14. The Lions had 430 total yards including 337 passing yards and five touchdowns from quarterback Matthew Stafford. The Eagles had 227 total yards. Detroit is 4-7 ATS and the total is 6-5 this season.

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Green Bay is outscoring teams 25-20 this season. The Packers are #9 in scoring and #8 in points allowed. Green Bay is averaging 344 yards per game on offense including 228 passing and 116 rushing yards. The Packers are #24 in total offense, #23 in passing and #10 in rushing. On defense, the Packers are allowing 362 yards per game including 249 passing and 113 rushing yards. Green Bay is #18 or worse in all three categories. The Packers are 54/147 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 67/168. Green Bay has forced 30 sacks and has allowed 26 this season. The Packers are +6 in turnovers with a defensive touchdown.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers has completed 60.5% of his passes for 2,684 yards along with 24 touchdowns and 4 interceptions, along with 44 carries for 260 yards.

Running back Eddie Lacy has 122 carries for 513 yards and 2 touchdowns, plus 15 catches for 132 yards and a touchdown. James Starks has 108 carries for 421 yards and a touchdown along with 30 catches for 292 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Receiver Randall Cobb has 53 catches for 627 yards and 6 touchdowns. James Jones has 30 catches for 592 yards and 7 touchdowns. Davante Adams has 32 catches for 322 yards. Tight end Richard Rodgers  has 40 catches for 293 yards and 5 touchdowns. Ty Montgomery has 15 catches for 136 yards and 2 touchdowns. He is doubtful with an ankle injury. Receiver Jordy Nelson is out for the season with a torn ACL suffered during the pre-season. Six defensive players and four offensive linemen are listed on the injury report.

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Detroit is being outscored 26-21 this season. The Lions are #26 or worse in both scoring and points allowed. Detroit is averaging 345 yards per game on offense including 271 passing and 75 rushing yards. The Lions are #23 in total offense and last in rushing. The passing game is #7 though. On defense, Detroit is allowing 355 yards per game including 242 passing and 113 rushing. The Lions are #22 in rush defense. Detroit is 57/154 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 64/145. The Lions have forced 28 sacks and allowed 30 this season. Detroit is -9 in turnovers. The Lions have 2 defensive touchdowns this season.

Quarterback Matthew Stafford has completed 64.9% of his passes for 2,944 yards with 20 touchdowns and 12 interceptions, along with 112 rushing yards on 25 carries with a touchdown. Dan Orlovsky is the back-up.

Running back Ameer Abdullah has 96 carries for 347 yards and a touchdown, along with 16 catches for 134 yards and a touchdown. Joique Bell has 57 carries for 163 yards and 2 touchdowns, along with 12 catches for 148 yards. Theo Riddick will get some carries as well. Zach Zenner is out for the season with a chest injury.

Receiver Calvin Johnson has 67 catches for 921 yards and 6 touchdowns. He is probable with an ankle injury. Golden Tate has 59 catches for 552 yards and 2 touchdowns. He is probable with a calf injury. Riddick has 55 catches for 507 yards and 3 touchdowns. Tight end Eric Ebron has 29 catches for 348 yards and 3 touchdowns.  Lance Moore has 27 catches for 321 yards and 4 touchdowns. He is doubtful with an ankle injury. Ten defensive players and three offensive linemen are listed on the injury report. Kicker Matt Prater is questionable with an illness. Punter Sam Martin will serve as the emergency kicker if Prater can’t go, but Martin hasn’t attempted a field goal in a game since college.

Green Bay is 6-2 ATS after rushing for 150 yards or more, 5-2-1 after a straight up loss, 5-2 in road games, 17-8 in December, 40-19 against NFC North teams, 4-11 against teams with losing records, and 1-5 overall. The favorite is 6-1 ATS in this series recently. The Packers are 13-6 ATS in this series recently.

Detroit is 4-0 ATS in Thursday games, 5-11 after a cover, 2-5 at home, after a straight up win, and after passing for 250 yards or more, 3-9 against teams with winning records, 6-19-3 after scoring 30 points or more, 1-4 after allowing less than 250 yards, 1-5 after allowing less than 15 points, 1-6 against NFC North teams, and 1-6-1 after a straight up win of 14 points or more. The under is 5-2 in the last 7 games of this series, and 5-1 in Detroit between the teams. The home team is 5-1 ATS in the last six games of this series.

While Detroit has won their last three games, Green Bay has lost four of their last five. The Packers have struggled on offense mainly because they don’t have a true go-to receiver without Nelson. It is only because of the great play of Rodgers that Green bay even has a winning record. Both of these teams struggle in running the football and on defense. I like the Packers to win a high scoring game inside the comfy Ford Field dome.

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