NFC North bragging rights will be on the line early Thanksgiving morning when the Green Bay Packers invade Ford Field to battle the Detroit Lions in the second of the division rival’s 2013 meetings. Green Bay battled back from a 16-point deficit last Sunday but was forced to settle for the tie against the Vikings. Detroit shockingly fell at home to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as 7.5-point favorites, and only stand a last second win over Dallas away from entering this one losers of three in a row in front of the hometown faithful.
OPEN: LIONS -5 | CURRENT: LIONS -6.5 | O/U: 50
1. Why the LIONS will cover the spread: The Lions will no doubt enter this Week 13 skirmish looking to immediately turn the page on their horrific loss to the Bucs last week that saw a number of fluke turnovers ultimately cost them the game. QB Matt Stafford threw for 297 yards and 3 TDs last week against a similarly ranked TBY pass defense, and with the Packers conceding 19 TD passes to just 4 INTs, he should be in line for a huge game. He’ll also be looking to bounce back from his nightmarish go round vs. the Packers earlier this season when he gained a bunch of his yardage in garbage time due to Megatron being a late scratch.
2. Why the PACKERS will cover the spread: 7:1 – that’s the Lions TD/INT ratio since returning from their Week 9 bye. Detroit will enter this spot having given up an average of 276.8 passing yards per game (#28) at 7.7 yards per pass attempt (#25). While Matt Flynn is no Aaron Rodgers, he’s comfortable running Green Bay’s pass attack evidenced by him replacing an ineffective Matt Tolzien last Sunday and throwing for 218 yards and a score without an interception thrown. The Packers as a whole have been very comfortable in this venue in winning six of their L/7 trips to Motown.
3. Total Talk: These rivals came nowhere close to surpassing the 55-point ‘total’ in their Week 5 clash mostly due to the absence of Calvin Johnson. Green Bay more or less played keep-away with rookie RB Eddie Lacy en route to the dominating home win and cover. But they’ll likely have to pass away in this one with Stafford having a field day with a full complement of weapons. That said, the ‘under’ has cashed each of the L/4 times these clubs went at one another at Ford Field.
Three of Green Bay’s previous five road games went ‘over’ the closing number with an average of 55.4 points. Detroit stands 4-1 to the ‘over’ at home with only last week’s result the lone low scorer.
4. Betting Trends for LIONS/PACKERS: The Lions looked to be on the rise two seasons ago when they reached the playoffs for the first time under the Schwartz regime. Last season was marred by a number of near misses and head scratching defeats with bad luck playing a major role. One of those losses occurred in this game a year ago when a penalized challenge flag thrown by Schwartz allowed for the Texans to get back into the game before ultimately losing in overtime 34-31; the loss was the Lions 9th straight on Thanksgiving.
That losing streak paired with the Lions looking to get a leg up in the division off a brutal home defeat has me leaning towards laying the points here against a Packers outfit missing a number of weapons on both sides of the ball.
Detroit 31 – Green Bay 17