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Monday Night Football here as the Green Bay Packers host the Detroit Lions in an NFC North clash. Both teams have exceeded expectations so far, with the Packers entering this one at 4-1, while the Lions sit at 2-1-1. Green Bay lost both matchups between these teams last season, so they'll have revenge on their minds in this one. Oddsmakers opened the Packers as a 4.5 point favorite.
The Lions have looked better than just about anybody expected so far this season. 2-1-1 might not jump out to most people, but they already have tough wins over the Chargers and Eagles, and they very nearly beat the Chiefs in their most recent game. Detroit had a bye week before this one, so they should be well-rested for their pivotal divisional game. The Lions don't get a ton of games in primetime, so this is a big one for them.
The Matt LaFleur era in Green Bay has started off with a bang. The rookie head coach has led his team out to a really hot start, as they've only lost one game. That one loss was a close one in a weird Thursday night game against the Eagles. The Packers are coming off a statement game in Week 5, where they went into Dallas and stomped them in their home stadium. If they can win this one and move to 5-1, they'll start to pull away in the NFC North.
Lions Better Than ExpectedThe Lions have managed to defy all expectations so far in 2019. All offseason most talk of the NFC North centered around the Packers, Vikings, and Bears, with Detroit taking a backseat. They entered the year with a chip on their shoulder and so far it's paid off, to the tune of a 2-1-1 record. In their last game before the bye, they very nearly beat the Chiefs and came within a play of besting Patrick Mahomes. They've already picked up upset wins over the Chargers and Eagles, so clearly they can hang with the league's best teams. The defense looks much-improved in their second year in Matt Patricia's system, and the secondary in particular has been really solid. Darius Slay is shadowing teams' opposing top receivers, and the rest of the unit has been very good as well.
Throw of the year so far in the #NFL ??— Dan Orlovsky (@danorlovsky7) October 2, 2019
Info+dead man walking=Stafford with a seed in the middle of 4 defenders.. @MikeOHaraNFL @PrideOfDetroit @kgxix @JalenRose 👀👀@Lions fans like 😛 your QB can’t make these throws #NFLGamePass pic.twitter.com/U6h407AUDc
Offensively, Matthew Stafford has been pretty reliable and consistent. But it's the defense that has stolen the show, and it'll need to do so once again here. Back in Week 2, they held Philip Rivers in check, and they did the same thing to Carson Wentz in Week 3. The following week, they held Mahomes without a touchdown pass. Detroit is using Kerryon Johnson as a workhorse back, and he could have some success here. The Packers are allowing 138.2 rushing yards per game, the seventh-worst mark in the NFL despite their 4-1 record. The bye week should provide the Lions with at least somewhat of an advantage here, as they had a lot of extra time to rest and heal up, while the Packers are banged up at the moment.
Packers On Top?It would've been hard for Matt LaFleur to ask for a better start to his NFL head-coaching career. The young offensive mind took over for Mike McCarthy and has raced out to a 4-1 record entering this one. Green Bay is in sole possession of first place in the NFC North, and their only loss was a close one to the Eagles. They're coming off a statement game, where they beatdown Dallas in their home stadium. Coming off the emotional win, it'll be important for them not to have a letdown game here. The Packers were winning big for most of their game against the Cowboys, but when you dig into the box score it tells a different story.
Aaron Rodgers only averaged 7.0 yards per attempt despite the Packers scoring 34 points, and the Cowboys actually out-gained them by nearly 230 yards. They averaged only 5.2 yards per play, while the Cowboys averaged 8.3. That's a pretty fluke result, and not one they'd be too likely to repeat. Green Bay is also dealing with some significant injuries. Star receiver Davante Adams was a DNP to start the week due to turf toe, and it doesn't look like he's going to play here. If on the off-chance he does suit up, he won't be close to 100 percent. That means Green Bay will be relying on some unproven receivers here, and veteran tight end Jimmy Graham. The Lions are only allowing opponents to complete 55.4 percent of their passes, which is the third-best mark in the league.
- 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games in Week 6
- 3-7 ATS in their last 10 vs. NFC North
- 2-5 ATS in their last 7 Monday games
- 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall
- 5-2 ATS in their last 7 Monday games
- 4-1 ATS in their last 5 road games
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
I like the Lions a lot in this spot. Now is the perfect time to sell-high on the Packers, as they're coming off a big statement win in a game they arguably should've lost. Detroit has been a lot better than expected this year, and this is their chance to prove to everyone they're legit. The Packers are really banged up right now, while Detroit is had an extra week to rest up and prepare for this pivotal divisional game. I think the Lions will probably win this one outright, so the money line makes sense as well.
Prediction: Lions +4
Full-Game Total Pick
I like the under even more here. Both of these teams have had success in 2019, mostly thanks to their defenses. Detroit's secondary, anchored by Darius Slay, has been playing at an elite level. The Packers are still going to be without Davante Adams, so I don't see them having that much success in the passing attack. Both teams have a weak-spot in their run defense, so expect both sides to try and establish the run. This one will be pretty low-scoring.