Week 6: Lions vs Packers predictions

The Detroit Lions visit the division-leading Green Bay Packers this week on Monday Night Football. The Lion Lowdown writers offer their predictions for this week’s game.

The smack videos have been circulated and dismissed. The coaches have each heaped glowing praise upon the opponent. The fans of both teams are on withdrawl after a football-less Sunday afternoon (other games do not count, remember?). Everyone is ready for the Monday Night Football match-up between the Detroit Lions and the Green Bay Packers.

What kind of game can we expect? For starters, both teams have exceeded pre-season expectations thus far.

The Packers have a record of 4-1, losing only to the Philadelphia Eagles at home on Thursday night game. Then they went on to beat the (then) 3-1 Dallas Cowboys handily last week on the road.

The Packers offense ranks 12th in total points scored in the NFL despite only ranking 25th in total yards gained. Green Bay’s defense is what has carried their team so far this year, allowing the 8th fewest points per game in the league.

With a net plus-seven, the Pack trail only the New England Patriots in the turnover-ratio column. Their strength has been interceptions, where they have seven on the year as compared to the Lions two. Detroit, meanwhile, is at plus-two in turnover-ratio.

The Lions defense has been less impressive this year. They do not rank above 20th in the NFL in total yards per game, passing yards per game, rushing yards per game or total points given up per game.

On paper, it looks like a comfortable win for Green Bay. Earlier in the week, Green Bay was 4 1/2 point favorites. That margin dropped to four by the weekend, perhaps due to the Packers lengthy injury list.

Bruce Walker (@smoke25):

So, is there reason to project a Detroit victory?

The Packers have posted wins against the Chicago Bears, Minnesota Vikings, Denver Broncos and Dallas Cowboys. They have lost only to the Eagles as mentioned above.

The Lions have beaten the Los Angeles Chargers and those same Eagles while losing a close game to the Kansas City Chiefs and tying the Arizona Cardinals.

The Lions offense has solidly outpaced the Packer’s offense in these six categories.

The players know each other well. For instance, Lions cornerback Darius Slay was looking forward to facing Davante Adams, but the Packer wideout has already been ruled out due to a turf toe injury.

A noteworthy thing here is that—at least prior to this weekend’s Minnesota Vikings game—the NFC North remains the only division in football where every team boasts a winning record. And the Packers have already scored two wins there. They are anxious to chalk up a Lions loss to make for a clean-sweep in the early part of their schedule.

What do I expect to happen Monday night?

This game has bees a difficult one for me to predict. For all of the reasons listed above, the Packers should prevail. I just can’t ignore the resiliency that Detroit has shown this season. They have players sprinkled throughout the team that have posted individual strengths. They have adapted to each opponent and improved in key areas in every game.

The Lions are also relatively healthy. Health is likely a contributing factor in their prior wins, where opponents have typically posted longer injury lists. While that advantage cannot and should not be discounted, check marks in the win column do not contain asterisks (*) that diminish the value of said win. Injuries happen and you have to play the players that are available but the team also has starters for a reason and if more of them are able to be on the field, it makes for a stronger team.

The Lions have shown the ability to be productive offensively despite facing some of the NFL’s best defensive linemen several weeks in a row. Lions Head Coach Matt Patricia and company have had extra time to perfect a game plan to mitigate the Packers strength and exploit their weaknesses.

The only game this year that the Lions did not defeat the projections from Los Vegas was the opening tie against the Cardinals. I believe that trend continues this week with a close but solid Lions victory.

Detroit Lions 27 – Green Bay Packers 26

James Gullett (@gullett_james):

Week six is upon us and this will soon be the second Sunday without our beloved Lions.  The Lions, of course, be featured on Monday night football and I want to open by saying how this much time off can help and hurt the Lions on Monday. 

Matt Patricia and Co. had a bye last week so they did not play at all. Then the normal week off, followed by another additional day off because they don’t play on Sunday.  This can help the Lions get healthier since they had several players down in the last couple weeks like Danials, Hockenson, Slay, Hand, etc. However, I have some concerns about rust being a factor on Monday. The Packers got one extra day of rest as well, so they aren’t hurting too bad, besides WR Devante Adams, who was listed as a multiple week injury — he was likely not going to play anyway. 

With all that being said, I believe the Lions will come out on top Monday night like they have in each of the last four meetings between these two teams. The Lions have too much firepower on offense, and the Packers defense will be exposed. In addition to that, the Packers offense has been lacking this year — outside of a four TD game by their RB Jones last week.

Between Stafford spreading the ball around and RB Kerryon Johnson coming off some rest after being the workhorse, I don’t believe that the Packers can cover every threat.

Detroit Lions 24 – Green Bay Packers 20

Logan Lamorandier (@LLamorandier):

The Lions travel to Green Bay for a crucial Monday night matchup. Whoever comes away victorious will have sole possession of first place in the NFC North.

This is not the typical Packers team that the Lions are used to seeing in years past. Yes, the Packers still have future Hall of Famer Aaron Rodgers, yet it’s been their defense that has predominantly been controlling opponents.

That’s not to say Green Bay’s offense still can’t be dangerous. So far, the Packers have faced plenty of defensive-oriented teams which have negatively skewed their offensive stats. Running back, Aaron Jones, has been able to find the endzone plenty, but it’s still not an overly impressive rushing attack. Meanwhile, no Devante Adams have mitigated the Packers dangerous QB-WR combo.

The Lions defense hasn’t been great this year, but I will still give them a slight edge against an Adams-less Packers offense.

On offense, the Lions have been efficient and Matthew Stafford has been successful in taking shots downfield.

Outside of maybe the Eagles, the Packers defense will be the toughest the Lions have played this year. The Packers have a reloaded pass rush this year along with some young talent in the secondary.

Both teams have been good protecting the football and creating takeaways on defense — the Packers are near the top in the NFL in both categories. Turnovers could easily be the deciding factor in the final outcome.

Honestly, this game could go either way. In my personal opinion, the Lions should be able to slip by the Packers.

Detroit Lions 31 – Green Bay Packers 30

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