When the Detroit Lions visit Green Bay it gives the media a chance to show off a bunch of unique statistics in the NFL, a league which has become defined by parity.
The recent past between the Lions and Packers has nothing to do with parity.
The Lions haven’t won in the state of Wisconsin since 1991, back when Barry Sanders was breaking ankles and dropping the jaw of every fan in the nation.
Detroit Lions (4-8) Analysis: Detroit doesn’t have Sanders anymore, but they do have someone just as great in wide receiver Calvin Johnson. With 125 yards or more, he will break an NFL record with six straight games with 125+ yards. Megatron currently has 86 catches for 1,428 yards and is on pace to break Jerry Rice’s 17 year-old record of 1,848 receiving yards in a season. Because the Lions have Matthew Stafford (who’s on pace for another 5,000 yard season) and the league’s premier pass-happy offense, Johnson doesn’t get the credit he deserves in search of the record.
Another barrier to Johnson’s national hype is the Lions’ inept secondary. In a thrilling 35-33 loss to the Indianapolis Colts, the team’s fourth straight loss, the secondary gave up a ridiculous 372 yards through the air to rookie Andrew Luck. Dirty or not, defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh is having a breakout year that’s going for naught because of a leaky secondary.
Green Bay Packers (8-4) Analysis: Let’s start with the Packers defense without linebacker Clay Matthews whose missed the past three games with a hamstring injury. In those three games, Green Bay has given up 457 rushing yards in part due to poor tackling. According to ProFootballFocus.com, Matthews has only 18 missed tackles in four seasons which is pretty impressive. When Matthews returns the run-defense will improve.
The big headlines this week were the signing of Ryan Grant and the announcement that Jordy Nelson (hamstring) will be out. As long as the Packers’ offense has quarterback Aaron Rodgers, they have a chance to win the game. In Green Bay’s 24-20 win over the Lions earlier this season, Rodgers shook off an average game by his standards by connecting with Randall Cobb for the game-winning touchdown with 1:55 left in the fourth quarter. Moreover, Rodgers is 7-1 all-time vs. the Lions.
Prediction: Green Bay 35 Detroit 24
Had to go with the Packers because this Lions team is straight soft. They’ve had the lead in the fourth quarter in all three of their last home-losses. While I believe they are much better than their record, they are even more one-dimensional than the Packers. It’s been proven time and time again that you have to be at least a little balanced to win in the NFL and the Lions are neither on both sides of the ball. Meanwhile, the Packers continue to fight for the NFC North crown despite being hit with injuries worse than any team in the league.
TV Coverage: NBC 7:30 PM CT including Al Michaels (play-by-play) and Chris Collinsworth (color) with Michele Tafoya on the sidelines.
Betting Lines: Packers favored by 6.5 with over/under set at 48.5 points.
2012 Record straight up: 8-4
2012 Record against the spread: 3-9
2012 Record in over/under: 7-5
What are you most looking forward in the Packers and Lions game? Let me know by commenting below.
Nick Grays is a senior writer at the Sports Bank where he covers the Wisconsin Badgers and Green Bay Packers. He also enjoys to share Fantasy Advice and pretend to be a Golf expert from time-to-time. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here or visit his blog Nick Knows Best. If social media is not your thing, shoot him an email at email@example.com.
Barry Sanders (bleacherreport.com)
Calvin Johnson (zimbio.com)Follow paulmbanks