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NFL Betting: Lions Have More To Prove, But Packers Have More At Stake

Posted by Stan Simmons on 10/2/2013 11:21:29 PM

The Detroit Lions are tied for the lead in the NFC North Division, but pundits still take them less seriously than the Green Bay Packers at this point. A fascinating game awaits in Wisconsin.

Detroit Lions @ Green Bay Packers – Sunday, October 6

Betting line: Packers -7.5

Why Detroit Will Win

This is an unusual game, in that the team with the 3-1 record is an underdog of more than a touchdown to a team with a 1-2 record. Let’s step back and assess this for a moment. Why should Detroit be this big an underdog? It’s clear that the Lions are richly talented – even when they bombed last season, they owned a lot of playmaking still plus a defensive line that was fearsome. Talent has not been the issue in Detroit under head coach Jim Schwartz. The ability to cut down on penalties, turnovers, and dropped passes – enough, at least, to score in bunches and improve in terms of third-down defense – was and is the main point of emphasis. Yes, Detroit was pretty ragged in its first two weeks, splitting games against the Minnesota Vikings and Arizona Cardinals, but the Lions have gotten better over the past two weeks. They won on the road in Washington against the Redskins in week three, doing something no Detroit football team had ever done before. (The Lions had been 0-21 against the Redskins in the District of Columbia before that win.) Then, Detroit pounded Chicago and didn’t get careless until it had already amassed a 40-16 lead. The Lions held on for a victory that catapulted them to the top of the NFC North. This is a team that appears ready to return to the playoffs.

This is a betting challenge like none other. It’s true that Green Bay is going to be very motivated, and that the Packers – playing at home – do have a number of factors riding in their favor. Yet, Detroit has not backed down from a challenge on most occasions this season. The Lions are not the 2012 version. They’re better. They’re going to be confident.

Why Green Bay Will Win

The Packers have Aaron Rodgers, and the Lions don’t. Sometimes, a betting equation can be that simple. Rodgers is one of the four best quarterbacks in the game (alongside Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, and Drew Brees). His mastery of the Packers’ offense remains intact. Even in Green Bay’s losses, Green Bay has scored at least 28 points. The Packers, playing at home, should be able to establish a good rhythm on offense, forcing Detroit to keep up. Rodgers must be frustrated by the fact that his teammates on defense and special teams have made huge mistakes, thereby allowing the Packers to slip below the .500 mark. Expect Rodgers to play one of his best games of the season here. If that happens, the Lions have virtually no chance.

Who Will Win

For all the ways in which the Packers have been struggling, they are still likely to finish above the Lions in the NFC North by the time the regular season is done. It’s still early in the season – there’s no need for the Packers to panic. They should win this game and regain their footing.

NFL Betting Pick: Packers -7.5

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