Packers vs. Lions Odds, Picks & Predictions: Your Guide To Betting Monday Night Football
Getty Images. Pictured: D’Andre Swift and Jared Goff (left), Aaron Rodgers and Devante Adams (right).
|Packers Odds||-12 (-110)|
|Lions Odds||+12 (-110)|
|Time||8:15 p.m. ET|
The Green Bay Packers got walloped by the New Orleans Saints, 38-3, in their season opener. As Green Bay gets set for its home opener against a pesky Detroit Lions team that staged a furious comeback last week against the 49ers that fell short, is it time to hit the panic button, or is it simply time to R.E.L.A.X.?
Should Packers Panic?
To answer the question about whether to overreact to the Packers’ Week 1 blowout loss, we have to ask ourselves exactly how far out of the norm it was given the circumstances. For most, “the circumstances” were the Packers coming off a somewhat tumultuous offseason where Aaron Rodgers wasn’t a sure thing to come back to the team.
But what if we look at the circumstances another way?
What if it was simply that Rodgers was facing an elite defense?
Here are the Saints’ overall defensive DVOA rankings:
- Overall: 2nd
- Pass Defense: 3rd
- Run Defense: 2nd
After the Saints beat down the Packers in Week 1, they rank first in defensive DVOA, which is … one spot off from when they finished last season.
Speaking of last season: Remember the one truly bad game Rodgers had? The one in which he went 16-of-35 for 160 yards with zero touchdowns, two interceptions, and four sacks for 42 yards lost in a 38-10 loss?
That came in Week 5 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, another defense that ranked in the top five in DVOA.
Was last week’s 38-3 loss disappointing? Sure. Does it warrant an overreaction? Absolutely not. Things like that will happen against good defenses, even in MVP seasons like Rodgers had last year.
The good thing for the Packers offense? Here is how the Lions ranked on defense last season:
- Overall Defensive DVOA: 32nd
- Pass Defense DVOA: 32nd
- Run Defense DVOA: 27th
After one game — a 41-33 loss to the 49ers at home — the Lions are ranked … 30th in defensive DVOA (and 30th against both the pass and run).
So, to recap: Rodgers goes from facing a defense that ranked in the top three overall and against the pass to facing one that ranks bottom three overall and against the pass.
Detroit’s defensive prospects have gotten even worse now that cornerback Jeffrey Okudah, the third overall pick in the 2020 draft, has been lost for the season with a ruptured Achilles tendon.
Rodgers and the offense had one bad game, but he is still a future Hall of Fame quarterback who averages 7.8 yards per attempt and a 103.6 passer rating for his career. He is facing an undermanned secondary that allowed 12.3 YPA and a 136.5 passer rating in Week 1, and an NFL-worst 8.5 YPA and 112.4 passer rating last season.
The Saints laid the blueprint for beating the Packers offense, as the Bucs and 49ers have done before them: Get pressure without blitzing. According to Pro Football Reference advanced data, the Saints blitzed just three times but got eight pressures in Week 1. The Lions, meanwhile, blitzed 14 times and came away with only three pressures last week.
Rodgers and the pass offense are due for some positive reversion to the mean.
The Lions gave up the highest average depth of target in the league last week (11.5), so this could be a good spot for No. 1 receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling, who has a career aDOt of 16.3 and averaged a league-leading 20.9 yards per catch. We know Davante Adams will obviously get his, so nothing much needs to be said about him.
The Packers coaching staff will also look to get the running game going to help get the offense back on track. Aaron Jones should have no issues against a defense that gave up 131 yards on 28 carries (4.7 yard per carry) with two touchdowns to the 49ers last week and allowed the most rushing scores (27) and fifth-most rushing yards per game (134.9) a year ago.
While much was made of the impact of being without tackle David Bahktiari (ACL – PUP), tackles Elgton Jenkins and Billy Turner graded out second and 21st, respectively, among 64 qualified tackles in PFF‘s grades for Week 1. Outside of defensive end Trey Flowers, the Lions don’t pose much of a threat to the Packers up front, which should enable a much more dynamic offense than we saw from Green Bay in Week 1.
Lions Have Work Cut Out For Them
The Lions offensive prospects improved when the Packers placed Pro Bowl defensive end Za’Darius Smith on the Injured Reserve with a lingering back injury. Last season, Smith finished tied for fourth in the league with 12.5 sacks and tied for 10th with 23 quarterback hits, according to PFR. Rookie left tackle Penei Sewell held up well last week, grading out 11th among 64 tackles at PFF, and now he doesn’t have to worry about Smith wreaking havoc. Preston Smith will be going against Lions right tackle Matt Nelson — who graded out 54th last week — and could still be in trouble, but the Lions can provide help for him with backs and tight ends chipping.
Jared Goff’s average pass traveled only 6.3 yards beyond the line of scrimmage last week. The Packers played a lot of two-deep shell under new defensive coordinator Joe Barry, so they will make Goff dink and dunk the ball down the field. Without de-facto No. 1 wide receiver Tyrell Williams (concussion), Goff will have to rely on his backs and tight ends to move the ball, namely running back D’Andre Swift and tight end T.J. Hockenson. The Packers had issues covering Saints tight end Juwan Johnson last week, who broke free for two scores, but they have the chops to cover Hockenson with talented safeties Darnell Savage and Adrian Amos.
With the Packers relying on more two-deep looks this season, the Lions’ best bet to move the ball will likely come on the ground with Swift and former Packer Jamaal Williams (revenge game alert!). The Lions had a solid ground game last week, posting 116 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries (4.8 YPC). The Packers ranked 18th in run defense DVOA in 2020 and allowed 171 yards on the ground last week, albeit on a whopping 39 carries. So the real quesiton is: How long can the Lions stick with the ground game? The Packers aren’t likely to get into a deep hole and allow Detroit to run it 39 times like the Saints did last week.
I’m not a fan of backing the favorite with huge spreads, but I make this game Packers -12.5, so I lean Packers here.
This is a much better matchup for the Packers, and a lot of trends are also working in their favor.
Via our Action Labs data, we have Aaron Rodgers off a straight-up loss …
… and Rodgers off an ATS loss …
… and Rodgers in a divisional home game.
For what it’s worth in regard to laying the big number, Rodgers has also been money at home as long as the number is -13 or less:
The total is tough to peg because while the Packers should rebound offensively, they may also run it with a lead and force Detroit to dink and dunk. My projected total is 48.5, which is pretty much in line with the market. I’d bet this to -12.
Pick: Packers -11.5 (+100) at PointsBet