Undoubtedly one of the NFL’s most anticipated days is the triple-header that comprises their annual Thanksgiving Thursday slate of games. For years, the Lions would always be featured to the dismay of football fans as their play was anything but appetizing. However this time it’s different, as the Detroit Lions will kick off this Thursday’s games with a marquee showdown against their undefeated divisional rivals, the Green Bay Packers.
The defending Super Bowl champion Packers have once again defied odds during the first 10 games of their 2011 campaign. Nobody could’ve foreseen such dominance, and as they enter the final stretch of the regular season, many are anticipating a flawless season for the Green and Gold and their legions of fans. However, this will undoubtedly be their toughest test to date. Going into what will be an electric atmosphere at Ford Field, on Detroit’s annual Thanksgiving Thursday home game, Aaron Rodgers and his prolific attack will have their hands full with the Lions in what could very well be one of the best games this season.
Detroit enters this contest feeling good about themselves following a comfortable 14-point comeback victory against the Carolina Panthers. After looking awful for stretches of the game, promising quarterback Matt Stafford willed his team back into contention with a 5-touchdown showing, keeping the dream of a playoff game alive in the Motor City. The Lions have been susceptible on defense of late, and will have to shore that up against a Green Bay team that is simply dominant on the attack. Key running back Jahvid Best will still be out due to a concussion for Detroit, but last week’s revelation Kevin Smith will look to build on his impressive 140-yard, 2-touchdown performance against the Panthers.
Green Bay will likely be without their own lead back in James Starks, who is currently being listed as a game-time decision. Though he is an important part of the Packers attack, his absence isn`t all that impactful considering this game is certain to feature a heavy aerial attack from both Stafford and Rodgers.
Packers vs. Lions Spread, Line, and Betting Odds:
Green Bay Packers -6 (-110) @
Detroit Lions +6 (-110)
Over 55.5 (-110)
Under 55.5 (-110)
Packers vs. Lions Pick:
Without raising expectations too much, this should be one of the more entertaining regular season games this season. Two divisional rivals squaring off on Thanksgiving Day pitting the undefeated Super Bowl champs against the resurgent Lions with their sights set on a playoff drive.
The talk leading up to this anticipated tilt has revolved around the Lions ending the Packers flawless record. Many believe the Packers simply cannot go 16-0 and feel that they’re due for a loss at Ford Field come Thursday. If only it were that easy. The Packers are a dominant team right now, with an uncanny ability to score whenever they want. Aaron Rodgers is putting together one of the greatest seasons ever for a quarterback and his offense is loaded with weapons at all of the key positions. Though the Packers` defense has been susceptible to the big play this season, their defense remains very opportunistic and has upheld its reputation as one that causes many turnovers for opposing offenses. Look for both Charles Woodson and Tramon Williams to put their ball-hawking ability to good use against the Lions` Stafford, who has been known to throw interceptions when pressured.
Stafford has thrown six picks in just his last two starts, and against a Green Bay defense that leads the entire league in interceptions, that is certainly a recipe for disaster. Calvin Johnson is undoubtedly a huge threat for the vulnerable secondary of Green Bay, but the Packers have had success against Megatron since Dom Capers became the defensive coordinator in 2009. Woodson in the past has been tough and effective and Johnson, and while it`s tough to completely eliminate the big wide-out, look for the Packers to limit his effectiveness.
Too much emphasis is being placed on the Packers being `due` for a loss. Green Bay, like Detroit, will be equally amped up to play on Thanksgiving in what will be a raucous atmosphere against their long-time rivals. Though this won`t be their usual routine thrashing of the opposition, expect Green Bay to pull away late in a close game by at least a touchdown. There will be instances which dreams of the upset seep through the stands of Ford Field, but Rodgers, Jennings, Nelson, Finley are simply too much for the Lions. Give Detroit credit for restoring the roar in a city plagued by years of atrocious football from its beloved Lions, but the Packers are truly in a class of their own in the NFL. They remain a notch above their rivals from Detroit, and the upstart Lions aren`t capable of pulling off an upset of this magnitude just yet.
The Lions will turn in a good performance and keep this one relatively tight for the majority of the game, but Aaron Rodgers is the league MVP for a reason, and he`ll prove why on Thanksgiving Thursday. Following a sub-par effort last week against Tampa Bay, the Packers will rebound with a Super Bowl-worthy showing. Expect Green Bay by 10 in a high-scoring affair, keeping their hopes for a blemish-free season alive and well.
PICK = Packers -6 **Make sure you enter your details at the top of this page to get picks delivered via email**