DETROIT LIONS (2-1) at GREEN BAY PACKERS (2-1)
LINE: Green Bay by 1.5
CHEWABLE: Remember what happened when these teams met at Lambeau Field just shy of nine months ago? The Packers surely do.
It was the last game on the NFL’s 2022 regular-season sked and they needed to extend their winning streak to five in order to make the playoffs.
The Lions, who had played themselves out of the post-season picture months earlier, stopped them in their tracks, prevailing 20-16 on a one-yard TD plunge by Jamaal Williams with just less than six minutes left in the fourth quarter.
It was Aaron Rodgers’ last night wearing the green and gold and he was outperformed by Jared Goff, who will now try to get the better of the raw Jordan Love.
It was also Detroit’s third straight win over the Packers, who hold a 30-game lead (105-75-7) in the all-time series. Have the tides turned?
The Lions rebounded last week from a shootout loss to the Seahawks with a convincing victory over the visiting Falcons.
Goff should also be able to do some damage against the Packers secondary, especially if Jaire Alexander misses his second game in a row — Lions stud WR Amon-Ra St. Brown had 102 receiving yards, while dealing with turf toe last week — but the stellar cornerback is but one of a handful of question marks on the Green Bay roster.
In their comeback home victory over the Saints last week, the Packers were without their two deadliest offensive weapons — RB Aaron Jones and WR Christian Watson — as well as O-linemen Elgton Jenkins and David Bakhtiari, the all-pro tackle who has been healthy enough to only play 25 games over the past four seasons and one this year.
Reports Wednesday indicated the Packers were optimistic about getting Jones and Watson back, which would fall in line with the talk that both could have played last week, but were given a little extra time off to prepare for a division game four days later.
Jones will be needed for the Packers to have success along the ground against a Detroit run defence that is ranked fifth.
The Lions were also missing a pair of O-linemen for their win over Atlanta, but in his first game as their lead running back, rookie Jahmyr Gibbs still managed 80 yards on 17 carries and he should be able to also find success against a Packers run defence that is currently ranked 27th.
I don’t usually subscribe to “payback” as a factor — especially when it’s supposed to carry over from one season to the next — but the Lions did prematurely end Rodgers’ career in Green Bay on a sour note.
With the Cheeseheads screaming for revenge, the defence with extra juice running through its veins and expectations of getting at least their biggest playmakers back, I’m leaning towards the Packers as a ‘dog on the not-yet-frozen-tundra at Lambeau.
Either way, the outcome should still be in question during the last minute.
TAKING: GREEN BAY +1.5
SCORE (O/U 46.0): Packers 24, Lions 21
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