GREEN BAY PACKERS (6-3)
at DETROIT LIONS (4-5)
Kickoff: Sunday, 1:00 p.m. EDT
Line: Green Bay -3, Total: 51.5
The surging Packers hope last week's bye didn't cool them down as they visit NFC North rival Detroit on Sunday.
The Packers have won four straight (3-1 ATS) and are coming off a bye week, giving WR Jordy Nelson another week to get healthy. The wildly inconsistent Lions return home to host a Packers team that’s beaten them SU 12 of 13 times. The Packers dominated in Detroit on Thanksgiving Day 2011, but the Lions did pull off a stunning, 7-3 win over the Packers in 2010 (Aaron Rodgers was injured during the game). The Lions have repeatedly fallen behind early, only to rally in the second half, including last week’s loss at Minnesota. But they are 4-1 ATS since the start of October.
Who will prevail in this NFC North rivalry game? For the answer, connect to The Platinum Sheet for all the StatFox Experts picks for every NFL game throughout the 2012 season and playoffs.
Rodgers is having another monster season (246 passing YPG, 25 TD, 5 INT), and he has been especially potent in his three dome games, torching the Colts, Texans and Rams for a combined 915 yards, 12 TD and just 1 INT. He'll get a healthy Jordy Nelson back at receiver, the same player who had 243 receiving yards and 4 TD in those two most recent dome games. Nelson also had 162 yards and three scores the last time he faced Detroit -- without Rodgers at quarterback. WRs Randall Cobb and James Jones continue to be touchdown machines as they help fill the void of injured top WR Greg Jennings (abdominal surgery). Cobb has 6 TD in his past five games, while Jones has a team-best eight touchdowns through the air. Jones also has 3 TD in his past four trips to Detroit. It appears as if the Packers have finally given up on trying to run the football with Alex Green (3.1 yards per carry). James Starks had 17 carries in the team's last game versus Arizona, but managed a pedestrian 61 yards (3.6 YPC). The Lions' run defense is mediocre (116 YPG, 19th in NBA), but the Packers figure to try their luck with Detroit's strong, but injury-riddled passing defense (213 YPG allowed, 7th in NFL). Lions safeties Louis Delmas (knee) and Amari Spievey (concussion) are both doubtful for Sunday's game. Last season, Packers back-up QB Matt Flynn torched the Lions secondary for 480 passing yards and 6 TD.
Lions QB Matthew Stafford is eager to face this Packers defense that will be without its two best players in DB Charles Woodson (collarbone) and LB Clay Matthews (hamstring). Stafford threw for 520 yards and 5 TD when these teams last met on New Year's Day, and is currently on fire with 966 yards and 6 TD in his past three games. Green Bay's pass defense isn't as bad this season (244 YPG, 21st in NFL) as it was last year (300 YPG, last in NFL), but the Packers have allowed 303 passing YPG in the past six contests. The only negative for Stafford is that his top two receivers (Calvin Johnson and Titus Young) are dealing with knee injuries, but both are expected to play on Sunday. Johnson has 801 receiving yards and 10 TD in nine career games against Green Bay, including 244 yards and 1 TD on January 1. With Detroit leading the NFL in pass attempts (44.6 per game), it doesn't leave a lot of room for the running game to thrive. Detroit had just 60 rushing yards last week and has a total of 139 rushing yards (3.3 YPC) in the past two home games.