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KINGS OF THE MEH’ORTH: PACKERS HOST LIONS IN SEASON FINALE

Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers celebrates after scoring a 1 yard touchdown to put them ahead 38-35 against the New York Jets during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium on December 23, 2018 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Aaron Rodgers and the Packers erased a 15-point, fourth-quarter deficit and rallied to beat the New York Jets 44-38 in overtime last Sunday. Not only was it Green Bay’s first road win of the season, but it was just its second ATS cover on the road over the past 10 games. Heading into Week 17, the Packers are 6-8-1 straight up and against the spread.

Detroit blew a 9-0 Week 16 lead at home and ultimately lost to the Minnesota Vikings 27-9. The Lions have lost four of their past five games and seven of their last nine. They’re 5-10 straight up and 8-7 against the spread this season, but just 3-6 ATS over their past nine contests. The loss to the Vikings snapped a two-game ATS win streak.

Green Bay opened as a 9-point home favorite, but after some Lions money poured in, the spread has ping-ponged between -7 and -7.5. Detroit’s moneyline opened at +295 and the point total opened at 44.5 before a slight dip to 44. The Lions (-1) won and covered against the Packers earlier this season in a game in which Mason Crosby missed five kicks.

SHARK BITES
  • The Packers are 1-6 ATS in their last seven games vs divisional opponents.
  • The total has gone UNDER in the Lions’ last six games (avg. combined score: 34.5).
  • The Lions are 2-6 SU in their last eight games on the road.

Lions vs Packers Game Center

WHAT WE LEARNED WEEK 16, THIS SEASON AND MATCHUPS TO CONSIDER

Packers – Green Bay is 2-1 straight up and against the spread since Joe Philbin became the interim head coach. The Packers also rank first in points per game, are fourth in total yards, fifth in pass yards and have averaged 117 rush yards per game under Philbin.

With Aaron Jones sidelined, running back Jamaal Williams has averaged 126.5 total yards of offense for the Packers the past two weeks. While he might struggle between the tackles against a Lions rush defense that has allowed fewer than 93 yards per game the past three weeks, Williams is providing Rodgers a much-needed outlet on passing downs.

The Packers have been home favorites of 7.5 or more points four times this season and are 2-2 ATS. They’re 16-4 straight up over their past 20 when favored by that much at home.

Lions – With no Marvin Jones, Golden Tate or Kerryon Johnson to keep opposing defenses guessing, Matthew Stafford has shriveled up the past three weeks to the tune of 141.6 pass yards per game. Detroit’s averaging the fifth-fewest passing yards per game the past three weeks. Despite the lethargic end to their season, if Sam Darnold can light up the Packers secondary for 341 yards and three touchdowns, Stafford should be able to find some windows of opportunity.

Keep an eye on pass-catching running back Theo Riddick this week. The Jets’ Elijah McGuire wasn’t able to do much between the tackles against Green Bay but caught three passes for 50 yards. Riddick has surprised opponents with sudden bursts of production in the past. With the Lions looking for a spark on every drive, he’s in a good spot.

The Lions haven’t been a road dog of 7.5 or more points since 2015. They are 1-9 straight up and 4-5-1 ATS over their past 10 when getting 7.5 or more points.

GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN FORECAST

Partly cloudy with temperatures in the high 20s and 10 percent chance of rain. The wind shouldn’t impact the passing and kicking games.

The aforementioned Mason Crosby has made 30 of 39 field goals and 34 of 36 extra points. Matt Prater is 27-for-31 on field goals and 26-for-26 on extra points.

MY LEAN

The New York Jets were penalized 16 times for 172 yards in their overtime loss to the Packers. If not for the laundry on the field, Green Bay gets smoked by double digits. In other words, the Packers are not a good team and neither are the Lions. However, there’s a reason that opening line of Green Bay -9 dropped to -7 / -7.5. The Lions may not win, but they’re definitely not 7.5 points worse than a Packers team/defense that nearly got beaten by a rookie quarterback.

If you can get Detroit -7.5, I’d jump all over it and at +295 Detroit’s moneyline is enticing as I don’t think either team is overly enthralled with the final outcome of this game.

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