In a battle for NFC North dominance, Nick Ballistreri gives his pick and think the Lions can make a statement on the road.
Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers Preview
The Packers are 4-1, coming off a thoroughly dominating performance in Dallas to close out Week 5. In a game where star WR Davante Adams sat out with a toe injury, many thought the Packers would struggle to move the chains. Early on, it was evident that wouldn’t be the case, as the Packers compiled 34 points on the back of RB Aaron Jones, who rushed for a career-high 4 touchdowns.
It was an impressive performance for the team coming off a disappointing home loss to Philadelphia the previous week. The Packers controlled each aspect of the game, and will look to build on their momentum this week.
Sitting atop the NFC North along with wins against the Bears and Vikings already, this is a golden opportunity for Green Bay to put the division in a stranglehold early. By securing at least a split with the rest of the division through Week 6, it will be hard to see any other team winning this division.
Receiver Davante Adams has been ruled out again, but if last week was any indication, Aaron Rodgers doesn’t need big-name receivers to consistently move the chain. On the defensive end, the Packers have been phenomenal this season, getting after the QB and forcing turnovers left and right. Rookie safety Darnell Savage has been ruled out for this one, so that’s something to keep an eye on.
The Lions sit at 2-1-1 right now, but it’s not an exaggeration to think that they should be 4-0. In Week 1, they blew a game against the Arizona Cardinals where they were in complete control throughout, leading to a tie. In their last game against the Chiefs, the Lions again had a lead late, only to let Pat Mahomes lead a comeback. If a couple things went differently, the national vibe on this team would be much different as they’d be 4-0 going into a huge MNF game.
Regardless, the Lions are playing well, and are confident in their ability to compete with anyone. Matthew Stafford has been the rock that keeps the Lions together for 10 years now, and the team believes this is the year they can finally reach that next level. Flanked on the outside by receivers Marvin Jones and young stud Kenny Golladay, Stafford has weapons all around him. In the backfield is 2nd year man Kerryon Johnson, who has finally started to find his groove the last couple weeks. The offense can put up points with the best of them, and will have to tonight in Lambeau.
Defensively, the Lions will be welcoming back key pieces Darius Slay and Quandre Diggs with open arms. It will be all hands on deck to stop Rodgers and co’, and it will be interesting to see if they can make the Packers offense uncomfortable.
Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers Prediction
The line is set as Packers -3.5 on their home field. Looking at these teams, they seem to be evenly matched, especially taking into account some of the Packers injuries. To this point, this Packers defense has played like one of the best units in the league, getting after the QB each week and causing havoc in the secondary. They should be able to get some pressure on Stafford and will need to force a turnover or two to cover.
The Lions have to be coming into this game liking their chances. They believe they can stop the run game of the Packers, and without Adams, it will be hard for Rodgers to stretch the field. The weakness of the Packers defense has been stopping the run, and with Johnson finding his groove in the Lions backfield, look for him to have another solid game.
This game will be close throughout, as evidenced by the line set. Giving the Lions 3.5 points is enough for me to take them. The Lions have a good shot at winning this game outright, and if they were to lose, I see it being a last-second field goal type of heartbreaking loss, not a comfortable win. The Lions and the points is the right play here.