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Saturday, December 27, 2014

NFL Predictions 2014 Week 17: Lions Vs Packers

Detroit Lions Vs. Green Bay Packers: GB -7 (-120) (Pinnacle)

Market Watch

This line opened at -7.5 at most books, went up to -8 during the week, but has come down to -7 this weekend.  Why?  I have no earthly idea because I think this is a line that should be higher than -7. Two out of three bets are on the Packers.

Bottom Line

When we look at this matchup, I think the biggest thing we need to consider is the home-road dichotomy these teams exhibit. The Lions might be a top 10 team this year, but when they go on the road they either win ugly, or lose by more than they should.  So far, they are only 2-5 ATS when visiting opposing stadiums. On the flip side, Aaron Rodgers has been virtually unstoppable at home for some time now. They sit at 5-1-1 ATS at Lambeau, and most of those covers have come with inflated point spreads.

Why should anything be any different this week?  Yes, the Lions D is #1 in the league by DVOA, but can they stop the #1 offense in the NFL?  I thought they would stand a good chance to stay within one score in New England a few weeks ago, but they didn't come close to making that a game. I think we will most likely see something similar play out this week.

Sure, Detroit will try to take away the big play with two-deep safeties, and that's probably their best chance at keeping GB from running away with it, but all that's going to do is open up soft zones in the intermediate routes, and offer Lacy running lanes to pound away for first downs.  And I'm not too worried about Detroit's defensive front either. One of the most overlooked aspects of this GB offense this year has been the protection they've given Rodgers in the pocket. I don't even remember the last time where he's had this much time to survey the field given all the injuries and inconsistencies on the OL over recent years.  One thing that was lost in the Buffalo game is that the Bills never really got to Rodgers that often - it was mostly outstanding coverage that prevented him from winning that game.

Now I don't have the faith in the Packers defense that I thought I would at this time of the season, but they rank better than the Detroit offense in almost every category. What most stands out for this Lions offense is how poor they've been inside the red zone, where they rank 29th in the league.  And when they are forced to kick field goals, it's been a nightmare from day one.

I think the only way that the Packers don't win and cover this game is if Detroit win the turnover battle in key situations, or Rodgers just has an off day.  I'm willing to bet against that happening.

And if you're weary about laying a touchdown, Green Bay make for a perfect teaser option this week.

NFL pick: GB -7.
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