Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers
Lambeau Field – Green Bay, Wisconsin
Sunday, December 28, 2014, 4:25 pm Eastern, TV: Fox, NFL Sunday Ticket
Opening Line: Green Bay -7 1/2
Current Line: Green Bay -7 1/2
Opening Total: 47 1/2
Current Total: 47 1/2
Opening Money Line: Packers -325 / Lions +265
Current Money Line: Packers -350 / Lions +290
Five NFC teams are 11-4 heading into the last week of the regular season. All five teams are safely in the playoffs, but are playing for seeding in week #17. The Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions are two of those teams. The two NFC North rivals will meet Sunday in Green Bay for the division title. The winner will clinch the division title and also at least a first round bye. The loser will be the wild card and likely travel to the NFC East Champion Dallas Cowboys in the playoffs next week. If both the Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals lose Sunday then the winner of the Packers and Lions will get homefield throughout the NFC playoffs. A Detroit-Green Bay tie would give the division title to the Lions.
Since 2001, Green Bay leads the series 22-5 against the Lions. Detroit has won 2 straight games in the series including 19-7 earlier this season in Detroit. The Packers have won 23 straight games at Lambeau Field against the Lions. Detroit hasn’t won in Green Bay since 1991.
Detroit is coached by Jim Caldwell. Detroit has losses at the Carolina Panthers 24-7, Arizona Cardinals 14-6 and New England Patriots 34-9, and at home to the Buffalo Bills 17-14. The Lions have home wins over the New York Giants 35-14, Packers 19-7, New Orleans Saints 24-23, Miami Dolphins 20-16, Chicago Bears 34-17, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 34-17 and Minnesota Vikings 16-14. Detroit also has road wins at the New York Jets 24-17, Minnesota Vikings 17-3 Atlanta Falcons 22-21 in London and Bears last week 20-14. Detroit has won 4 straight games. The Lions are 7-8 ATS and the total is 4-11 this season. Detroit was a 10 point favorite against Chicago and the total was 43.5.
Green Bay is coached by Mike McCarthy. The Packers have road losses at the Seattle Seahawks 36-16, Lions 19-7, New Orleans Saints 44-23 and Bills 21-13. Green Bay has won 6 of their last 7 games. The Packers have home wins over the New York Jets 31-24, Vikings 42-10, Carolina Panthers 38-17, Chicago Bears 55-14, Philadelphia Eagles 53-20, New England Patriots 26-21 and Atlanta Falcons 43-37. Green Bay has road wins over the Bears 38-17, Miami Dolphins 27-24, Vikings 24-21 and Buccaneers 20-3 last week. The Packers are 8-6-1 ATS and the total is 10-5 this season. Green Bay was an 11.5 point favorite against Tampa Bay and the total was 48.5.
For years, the Detroit Lions were known for having an explosive offense and a so-so defense at best. This year the script has been flipped as the Lions are struggling to move the ball and have a dominant defense. Detroit is outscoring teams 20-17 this season. The Lions are #23 in scoring and #2 in points allowed. Detroit is averaging 343 yards per game including 255 passing and 87 rushing yards per game. The Lions are #18 in total offense, #11 in passing and #27 in rushing. On defense, Detroit is #2 in total defense allowing 296 yards per game including 232 passing and 64 rushing yards. The Lions are #13 in pass defense and #1 in rush defense. Detroit is 93/229 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 75/218. Detroit has allowed 43 sacks and forced 41 this season. The Lions are +6 in turnovers. Detroit has 2 defensive touchdowns this season.
Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford has completed 61.1% of his passes for 4,040 yards with 19 touchdowns and 12 interceptions, along with 2 rushing touchdowns. Running back Joique Bell has 210 carries for 800 yards and 7 touchdowns, plus 34 catches for 322 yards and a touchdown. He is probable with an Achilles’ injury. Reggie Bush has 71 carries for 278 yards and a touchdown, plus 37 catches for 231 yards. Bush is battling a nagging ankle injury that has cost him several games this season but isn’t listed on the injury report this week.
Receiver Golden Tate has 96 catches for 1,286 yards and 4 touchdowns. Calvin Johnson has 67 catches for 1,038 yards and 6 touchdowns, despite missing three games with an ankle injury. He is probable with an ankle injury. Theo Riddick has 29 catches for 282 yards and 3 touchdowns. Tight end Joseph Fauria is out for the season with an ankle injury. Six defensive players are listed as questionable or out.
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Green Bay is outscoring teams 30-22 this season. The Packers are #2 in scoring and #12 in points allowed. The Packers are averaging 387 total yards per game including 269 passing and 118 rushing yards. Green Bay is #6 in total offense and #7 in passing and #11 in rushing. On defense, Green Bay is allowing 349 yards per game including 228 passing and 121 rushing yards per game. The Packers are #12 in total defense, #10 in pass defense and #22 in rush defense. Green Bay is 89/193 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 93/220. The Packers have forced 39 sacks and allowed 29 this season. Green Bay has 5 defensive/special teams touchdowns and has allowed 3 this season. The Packers are +15 in turnovers.
Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers has completed 65.1% of his passes for 4,155 yards with 36 touchdowns and 5 picks, plus 41 carries for 255 yards and a touchdown. Rodgers is probable with a calf injury. He is a contender for league MVP if not the favorite. Remarkably, he has not thrown an interception at Lambeau since December 2012. Running back Eddie Lacy has 220 carries for 1,039 yards and 9 touchdowns, along with 39 catches for 409 yards and 4 touchdowns. James Starks has 80 carries for 307 yards and 2 touchdowns, plus 18 catches for 140 yards.
Receiver Jordy Nelson has 92 catches for 1,433 yards and 13 touchdowns. Randall Cobb has 87 catches for 1,207 yards and 10 touchdowns. Davante Adams has 38 catches for 446 yards and 3 touchdowns. Andrew Quarless has 29 catches for 323 yards and 3 touchdowns. Seven defensive players are questionable or out.
Detroit is 2-5 ATS against NFC teams, 2-6 after a straight up win, 1-4 after allowing less than 90 rushing yards, after gaining more than 350 total yards, and after allowing less than 15 points, 3-12-1 in December, 1-5 against teams with winning records, and 1-5 after allowing less than 250 total yards, 0-4 against teams with winning home records, and in road games, and 0-6 on grass. The under is 4-1 in this series recently.
Green Bay is 3-0-1 ATS after gaining more than 350 total yards, 4-0 after allowing less than 15 points, 6-2 against teams with winning road records, 21-8-1 against teams with winning records, 7-3-1 in week 17, 36-16-1 on grass, 37-17 against NFC North teams, 33-16-2 at home, 35-17-2 after allowing less than 90 rushing yards and 4-9 after passing for more than 250 yards. The favorite has covered the last 5 games in this series and the home team has covered the last 4 games. The Packers are 5-2 ATS in the last 7 games against the Lions including 4-1 at Lambeau.
Detroit certainly has the type of pass rush that Green Bay has struggled with this season. However, Green Bay is almost invincible at home. After two lackluster offensive performances in a row, I think the Packers break out and win a high scoring game.