Packers vs Lions Pick, Odds: NFL Week 18 Expert Prediction
Getty Images. Pictured: Jared Goff (left), Aaron Rodgers (right).
- The Packers are favorites on Sunday Night Football against the Lions.
- Green Bay will be the No. 7 seed in the NFC, although Detroit was eliminated with Seattle's win.
- Anthony Dabbundo breaks down the game and makes his Packers vs. Lions pick below.
The 272nd and final game of the 2022 NFL regular season is here, and it will decide the final of 14 playoff spots.
So, let's get into the Packers vs. Lions odds and NFL playoff scenarios.
Green Bay needs a win to get in — it would be its fifth consecutive victory and an unlikely postseason run following a 4-8 start.
Detroit, though, has been eliminated because of the Seahawks' overtime win over the Rams. A Lions win would put Seattle in the playoffs as the NFC's No. 7 seed.
The Lions turned their season around — after a 1-6 start — when they beat the Packers at home in Week 9 as 3.5-point underdogs. The market has swung steadily toward both of these teams as both offenses have gotten healthier and kicked into gear in the second half of the season.
Despite the improvements on both sides, the pair have similar weaknesses along the defensive front. Green Bay's run defense has been vulnerable all season, and Detroit gave up 320 rushing yards to Carolina two weeks ago.
Detroit's defense has major holes that Aaron Rodgers can exploit in the secondary, too, and the matchup isn't great for this defense to stop him with his full complement of weapons.
Let's make our Packers vs. Lions pick.
Packers vs. Lions Odds
Packers vs. Lions Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how the Packers and Lions match up statistically:
Packers vs. Lions DVOA Breakdown
In the past six weeks, these offenses are both safely positioned in the top five in DVOA. Green Bay's run offense is as efficient as ever, with both Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon healthy and the entire offensive line off the injured list. There was nothing unique about what the Panthers did to the Lions defense, routinely gashing it up the middle.
Green Bay should be able to do the same. The Packers only scored nine points in the first meeting, but it's important to note the Packers had 5.6 yards per play and managed to get into the red zone five times. Rodgers threw three interceptions — two at the goal line — and the Packers were stopped on fourth and goal early.
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Despite Rodgers not being quite as elite as he was during his back-to-back MVP seasons, the Packers offense is still ninth in the league in series conversion rate — a measure of how often an offense is able to convert a 1st-and-10 into another first down.
Detroit is last defensively in that stat, which shows the defensive improvements during its winning streak was more a matter of red zone and turnover variance, not improved play. The Lions' play-to-play defense is one of the three worst in the NFL, and they also don't get much pressure on the quarterback.
There's not going to be much to stop the Packers offense, and the rest of the handicap comes down to whether Jared Goff can overcome his cold-weather demons and take advantage of a soft defense.
Like Detroit, the Packers defense is extremely soft against the run. The Dolphins, Eagles and Cowboys all had a ton of success with power blocking run schemes against a Packers front that is a bottom-three run defense.
Turnovers have largely bailed out the Packers. Whether it was Tua Tagovailoa's three interceptions while concussed, two non-offensive scores against Kirk Cousins last week or two late interceptions by Justin Fields, takeaways have masked an otherwise bad play-to-play defense.
Goff doesn't have a good record in cold-weather games, but you also have to consider some of the defenses he faced in those environments. He's played five games in his career in temperatures under 40 degrees, which is the forecast for Sunday night at Lambeau Field.
Everyone remembers the embarrassing losses to Chicago and Denver, two elite defenses from Goff's time with the Rams and Sean McVay. Those defenses were top six in DVOA. His career indoor vs. outdoor splits aren't statistically significant and his other three cold outdoor games average to be better than his normal stat line.
I believe the "Goff-in-the-cold" narrative is built on primetime in a small sample of games against elite defenses. Green Bay's defense is soft and the Lions will be able to run all day on them.
If the Lions are eliminated by kickoff, you can also expect to see higher variance from head coach Dan Campbell. Fourth downs, fake punts, trick plays and aggression should be expected, and all of that leads to more potential points.
The market did steam this total up from 48 to 49.5, but I still like the over at 50 or better. In the year of NFL unders, we get two great offenses going at it in the final regular season game.
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