Detroit Lions (3-4) at Green Bay Packers (4-3)
The Lions have been on my overrated last for a while. They made the playoffs last season with a 9-7 record, but 8 of those wins came by a touchdown or less and none of their wins came against playoff qualifiers. They finished the season 28th in first down rate differential, worst among playoff qualifiers. So far this season, they rank 25th in first down rate differential and are 3-4 on the season, with wins over the Cardinals, the Giants, and the Case Keenum led Vikings. They’re arguably even less talented than last season with left tackle Taylor Decker and defensive end Kerry Hyder out indefinitely. They have major problems on the offensive line and in the running game and their defense is middling at best.
Despite that, they seem to still be a little bit overrated, as they are 2.5 point favorites in Green Bay this week. They should only be favored by that many on the road against the worst teams in the league and, even without Aaron Rodgers, the Packers are not among the worst teams in the league. They still have a strong offensive line, good pass catchers, and a capable front 7, and rookie running back Aaron Jones has given life to this running game for the first time in a while.
They played a good New Orleans team close before their bye in Brett Hundley’s first start without top defensive back Morgan Burnett. Now coming off the bye with Burnett back healthy, they should be able to give the Lions a close game too or even pull the upset. I’d need a full field goal to put money on the spread, but the money line is a smart bet at +115 because this game is a toss up at best. If this line creeps up to a field goal before game time, I’ll consider upgrading this to a medium confidence pick. About 1 in 6 games are decided by exactly a field goal, so getting protection against a field goal win by Detroit is key.
Green Bay Packers 21 Detroit Lions 20 Upset Pick +115
Pick against the spread: Green Bay +2.5