Monday Night Football will showcase an NFC North showdown this week, as the Detroit Lions travel to face the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. In a division filled with winning records entering Week 6 of the season, these are the top two teams, with Green Bay in first place with a 4-1 mark, while the Lions are just behind at 2-1-1.
The Packers rebounded nicely from their first loss of the season — to Philadelphia at home on the Thursday of Week 4 — with a rout of the Dallas Cowboys last Sunday. Detroit has had some time to think about its first loss of the season — a home setback to Kansas City in Week 4 — having had a bye last week.
The moneyline for this contest has the Detroit Lions +160 and the Green Bay Packers -180. Green Bay is favored by 3.5 points at home, while the over/under for the game has been set at 45.
Maybe it’s their history, maybe it’s the fact they came from ahead to tie the woeful Cardinals in Week 1, but the Lions aren’t getting much publicity despite a 2-1-1 mark through four games. Their only loss is to Kansas City in a close game, and they beat Philadelphia on the road, but they’re the forgotten team in the NFC North. That could change with a win at Green Bay, which means Matthew Stafford has to be at his best. The 31-year-old signal-caller has thrown for 1,122 yards and nine touchdowns this season and nearly outdueled the Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes in Week 4.
Defensively, Detroit hasn’t been particularly good this season, ranking 27th in the league, allowing 405.5 yards per game, and giving up 23.8 points per contest. Safety Tracy Walker is far and away the leading tackler for Detroit this season, racking up 36 stops and tying for the team lead in interceptions with one. Stopping Green Bay means putting together a solid pass rush, which means Detroit will be looking for a big game from linebacker Devon Kennard, who has a team-high three sacks this season.
Green Bay has been surprising the league since the season opener, and they continue to invent new ways to win. Last week, it was the ground game, with Aaron Jones scoring four times in the win over Dallas. On the season, Jones has rushed for 302 yards and eight touchdowns, and his production will be key going forward. Aaron Rodgers is always dangerous, but he’s lacking his top receiver in Davante Adams, who will sit out his second straight contest with a toe injury. Rodgers has passed for 1,307 yards and six touchdowns through five games this season and has thrown for 37 touchdowns in 18 career games against Detroit, winning 13 of those matchups.
Defensively, the Packers have really surprised. The Green Bay pass rush has outstanding, with Preston Smith (5.5 sacks) and Za’Darius Smith (five sacks) both ranking in the league’s top 10 in sacks. Linebacker Blake Martinez continues to make plays, recording 55 tackles through five games to lead the team. The Packers have also been great at forcing turnovers, leading the league with seven entering Week 6 action.
Green Bay Gets Win
The Detroit Lions have played well this season, but they’ve been inconsistent. Going against a Green Bay defense that can put pressure on the quarterback is not a good formula for a win for Stafford. He must play mistake-free if Detroit is going to win, but I don’t anticipate that happening. I’m taking Green Bay -3.5 to take the win in this one.