DETROIT LIONS (4-8)
at GREEN BAY PACKERS (8-4)
Kickoff: Sunday, 8:25 p.m. EDT
Line: Green Bay -6.5, Total: 50
Slumping Detroit not only tries to end a long losing skid this season, but it also seeks its first win at Lambeau Field since 1991, when it visits Green Bay on Sunday night.
The Lions, who have dropped 20 straight meetings at Lambeau, continue to find new ways to lose games. They’ve lost four in a row SU (1-3 ATS) this season, and after having a habit of falling behind early in games, they’ve now blown double-digit leads in each of the past two weeks. Their offense is running out of receivers, as rookie WR Ryan Broyles (ACL) is out for the year, and so is fellow WR Titus Young (knee). The Packers have major issues on their offensive line, but overcame it in beating the Vikings last week. They’ve beaten the Lions three in a row, SU and ATS, though their cover at Detroit in Week 11 was backdoor, as a field goal with 19 seconds left game them a four-point win.
Can the Packers score another comfortable win over their NFC North rival on Sunday night? For the answer, connect to The Platinum Sheet for all the StatFox Experts picks for every NFL game throughout the 2012 season and playoffs.
Lions QB Matthew Stafford has lost all four career starts against the Packers, throwing 8 TD and 11 INT. However, he was on fire in his lone trip to Lambeau Field, completing 36-of-59 passes for a career-best 520 yards, 5 TD and 2 INT in a wild 45-41 loss in last year's season finale. Although his team has lost four straight, he's been pretty effective with 1,349 passing yards (337 YPG), 8 TD and 4 INT. He'll continue to look mostly to stud WR Calvin Johnson, who not only leads the NFL in receiving yards (1,428 yards), but has 16 catches for 387 yards and 2 TD in the past two meetings with Green Bay. Johnson has five straight games of 125+ receiving yards, which ties the NFL record. The gaggle of injuries to Lions wideouts will also provide more opportunities for TEs Brandon Pettigrew (556 rec. yds, 3 TD) and Tony Scheffler (112 rec. yds in past 2 games) to shine. Pettigrew has 37 targets over the past four weeks and caught seven passes for 116 yards in his last trip to Green Bay. The Lions throw the ball more than any team in the NFL, but they still rush for 104 YPG led by Mikel Leshoure (591 rush yds, 7 TD). The whole offense should benefit from an injury-riddled Packers defense that will be still without LB Clay Matthews (hamstring), CB Sam Shields (shin) and S Charles Woodson (collarbone). Green Bay ranks 17th in the NFL in passing defense (234 YPG) and 15th in rushing defense (115 YPG).
Packers QB Aaron Rodgers is 7-1 in his career versus the Lions with a 70% completion rate, 2,112 passing yards, 18 TD and 5 INT. The only game he lost was a 7-3 game in Detroit in 2010 when he suffered a concussion in the first half and was forced to leave the game for good. Rodgers has five 300-yard games against the Lions, and has thrown at least two touchdowns in all seven wins, including three weeks ago when he finished 19-of-27 for 236 yards, 2 TD and 1 INT in the 24-20 win at Ford Field. He connected with Randall Cobb with 1:55 in regulation for the game-winning touchdown. Although the Packers still plan to employ a heavy air attack, Rodgers could see more pressure than usual with RT Bryan Bulaga (hip) and OT T.J. Lang (ankle) both injured. He has already taken 39 sacks this year, including three in Detroit in Week 11. Rodgers will also be missing starting WR Jordy Nelson (hamstring), but he finally has top WR Greg Jennings back healthy (46 rec. yards last week), and other great talents in Cobb (team-high 675 rec. yards) and James Jones (team-high 9 TD). Green Bay's rushing attack continues to be weak (105 YPG, NFL-low 3 rush TD), but the team added former star RB Ryan Grant to help shoulder the workload with underachieving Alex Green (3.3 YPC). James Starks, who has carried the football 65 times in the past four weeks, is out indefinitely with a knee injury. Detroit's defense is mediocre in both key areas, allowing 234 passing YPG (18th in NFL) and 119 rushing YPG (19th in league). But the Lions have been burned badly in the past two games, allowing 69 points and 960 total yards.