Week 3 NFL Sunday Picks: Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers

Golden Tate has nine catches for 54 yards on the season.
Golden Tate has nine catches for 54 yards on the season.

Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers
Spread: GB -7
M/L: GB -310, DET +255
Total: 48

Betting odds c/o 5dimes

The Detroit Lions are 1-1 after a Week 1 victory over the Indianapolis Colts and a loss last week to the Tennessee Titans. Detroit will have no easy task getting back on track as it travels to face the Green Bay Packers. Green Bay is 7-point favorites in the game which will air at Noon (Central) on FOX.

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Last week was a heartbreaking loss to the Titans for Detroit. Marcus Mariota and the Titans succeeded in taking the lead on a deflected TD-pass in a game which saw both teams struggle to reach the end zone. Matthew Stafford was 22 of 40 for 260 yards with a TD, but he was also sacked four times (for a loss of 22 total yards) and threw an interception.

The Lions were effective on the ground, despite Ameer Abdullah leading the way with just 38 yards.  Detroit rushed for 137 total yards on 23 carries (good for 6.0 yards per) and Stafford gained 31 yards on his two attempts. With Abdullah now on the injured reserve (until Nov. 20), that gives Detroit a lot of problems when it comes to moving the football.

Marvin Jones carried a large load of the receiving with 118 yards on eight catches, but Anquan Boldin scored the only Lions TD of the game (while catching four passes for 48 yards). Detroit gained over 400 yards, but the Lions failed to score a TD after the first quarter which saw them lead 9-0. It will take a more sustained effort from Stafford and company to emerge victorious against the Packers.

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Stafford’s Week 1 performance is what will be required for the Lions to stick in this game. Against the Colts, Stafford threw 31 of 39 (79 percent) for 340 yards with three TDs and no interceptions. His passer rating for the game was a 128.6, which towers over last week’s 72.9.

Which Stafford will Detroit get? He was better in every facet of the game against the Colts, but his 31 yards rushing last week were one notable improvement among few others.

Green Bay is 1-1 after a Week 1 victory over Jacksonville and a Week 2 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. In last week’s loss, Aaron Rodgers threw 20 of 36 for 213 yards with a TD, but he also threw an interception and was sacked five (!) times for a total loss of 33 yards. His passer rating was just 70.7. Every quarterback is entitled to a bad week. What compounded it for Rodgers and the Packers was that the team gained only 83 rushing yards.

Eddie Lacy had 50 of those yards on 12 carries, and Rodgers gained 29 on three carries (including the team’s lone rushing TD). Jordy Nelson caught five passes for 73 yards, but he was targeted 11 times in the game. Randall Cobb had 42 yards on five catches, and five Packers’ players had 25 or more receiving yards in the game.

It was really a matter of lacking the run production and the fact that the Packers also fumbled four times and Rodgers was to blame for three of those (one lost of the two lost fumbles). The Pack’s defense was pretty effective in sacking four times and tackling for loss nine times, but Sam Bradford kept his mistakes few and it compensated for the Vikings getting just 30 rushing yards of their own.

Rodgers has had his struggles this season, through two games. Though it is early, it is easy to be alarmed by his low completion percentage (57 percent) and the fact that he has yet to amass more than 213 yards in a game, and that was last week’s loss. Though this is really a case between two struggling football teams, the Packers have a lot to lose being at home with the possibility of emerging from this Week a 1-2 team. If Stafford plays as his typical self, the recipe for upset is there.

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