Week 6 of the NFL season comes to a close with an NFC North rivalry game between the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions. Kickoff is set for 8:15 EST on Monday, October 14 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The game will be broadcast on ESPN.
Oddsmakers list the Packers as 4-point favorites at home with an over/under of 47 points. Click here to check out a full list of this week’s NFL odds and previews of every game.
Prior to last week’s bye, the Lions had been one of the biggest surprises over the first month of the season. They let a game slip away in Week 1, settling for a tie with the Cardinals. But they followed it up with impressive wins over the Chargers and Eagles. Detroit then came one defensive stand away from knocking off the Chiefs, proving that they can play with any team in the league.
At 2-1-1, the Lions are in decent shape. However, with their bye week behind them, the final 12 weeks are bound to be a challenge. Detroit returns from the week off with rivalry games against the Packers and Vikings. If they want to keep up in what looks like the most balanced and competitive division in football, the Lions will need to find a way to at least split those two games before their schedule lightens up a little.
As for the Packers, they have started fast under new head coach Matt LaFleur. They’ll be disappointed that a home game against the Eagles got away from them for their only loss of the season. But Green Bay responded well by dominating the Cowboys on the road last week, even if they had to hold on in the fourth quarter and withstand a comeback attempt.
As it stands, the Packers and their 4-1 record sit atop the NFC North. Holding onto that lead won’t be easy with the other three teams within a game of them in the standings. But with back-to-back home games the next two weeks, the Packers have a great opportunity to maintain their division lead if they can hold serve at Lambeau field.
Unfortunately, the Packers have struggled at home against Detroit in recent years. The Lions have won three of their last four trips to Lambeau. In fact, the Lions have swept the season series from Green Bay the last two years, giving them an unlikely four-game winning streak in head-to-head games against the Packers.
This is a tough game to call because I’m not sure we know that much about the Lions just yet. Meanwhile, the Packers have showcased a few flaws despite being 4-1. That being said, Green Bay’s four wins have come by an average margin of over eight points. Despite their home loss to the Eagles, I feel like taking the Packers to cover at home is the safer choice.
Offensively, the Packers are improving week by week. They scored 21 points in Week 2, 27 points the next two weeks, and posted 34 points against Dallas last week. While Aaron Rodgers gets most of the attention of opposing defenses, it’s been the Green Bay running game that has taken the lead recently. Aaron Jones ran for 107 yards and four touchdowns last week. That kind of productivity will get Detroit’s attention, perhaps opening up things for Rodgers in the passing game.
The caveat, of course, is the status of Davante Adams, who is questionable to play because of turf toe. However, the Packers were fine without Adams last week. Rodgers also has six touchdown passes this year, none of which have gone to Adams. It also helps that the Detroit defense has given up at least 24 points in three of their four games this season. They’ve been vulnerable on the ground every game, so I expect another good game from Jones to help take some pressure off Rodgers.
In fairness, the Green Bay defense hasn’t exactly been stout this year. They gave up 34 points to the Eagles a couple of weeks ago and allowed the Cowboys to creep back into the game last week after taking a commanding lead. However, Kerryon Johnson is averaging just 3.4 yards per carry this year, so the Lions may not be able to exploit a vulnerable Green Bay run defense. The Packers are also good at getting after the quarterback, amassing 15 sacks this season. The Green Bay pass rush can be particularly useful when it comes to protecting a lead late in games. They could prove troublesome for Detroit’s offensive line, which still has something to prove.
In the end, I trust the Packers more than I trust the Lions right now. With the way the Packers have come on offensively recently, I think they’ll score points and put their defense in a good position to put pressure on Matthew Stafford. I’m not ready to believe in the Lions as a road team yet, so I’ll take my chances with Green Bay covering four points at home.