Green Bay Packers @ Detroit Lions Matchup Preview 12/29/19: Analysis, Betting Corner

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TV Schedule

Date: Sunday, December 29, 2019
Time: 1:00 PM ET
Location: Ford Field (Detroit, MI)
Coverage: FOX

Green Bay Packers Analysis

Green Bay PackersWhen healthy, the Packers have one of the best offenses on paper. After clinching the NFC North with a 23-10 victory against the Vikings, they sit at 12-3. Currently the 2nd seed in the NFC, they still have much to play for. With a win Sunday, they will have a bye and possibly home field advantage throughout. A loss could drop them to the 3rd seed and a tough matchup against the Vikings or Seahawks. Veteran QB Aaron Rodgers is obviously the head of the snake. Outside of Christian McCaffrey and perhaps Dalvin Cook, Aaron Jones has been one of the best game-changing backs in the NFL. Devante Adams is a world-class talent when healthy. A veteran presence like Jimmy Graham also adds to their firepower. Defensively, they have not been great. They have struggled to force turnovers, but do rank 8th in sacks.

Green Bay Packers Depth Chart

QB: Aaron Rodgers
RB1: Aaron Jones
RB2: Jamaal Williams
WR1: Davante Adams
WR2: Marquez Valdes-Scantling
WR3: Geronimo Allison
TE: Jimmy Graham

Detroit Lions Analysis

Detroit LionsThe Lions have not had a good year to say the least, with 3 wins on the season. Teams like this are always dangerous towards the end of the year with nothing to lose. Yet, they have only 1 win since Week 4. The injury to Matthew Stafford in the middle of the season certainly put an end to their playoff chances. Backup Jeff Driskel became injured for the year just a few weeks after. They have had to rely on quarterback play from David Blough, averaging a dismal 10.6 Fantasy points per game, ranking 41st among all quarterbacks. When healthy, they also have one of the best offenses in the game. Injuries have killed them, and ultimately closed the door on a successful season in a competitive division. 

Detroit Lions Depth Chart

QB: David Blough
RB1: Bo Scarbrough
RB2: JD McKissic
WR1: Kenny Golladay
WR2: Danny Amendola
WR3: Travis Fulgham
TE: T.J. Hockenson

Passing Game

Aaron Rodgers is arguably the most talented throwing quarterback of all-time. Lamar Jackson is top dog in fantasy and will certainly be this year’s MVP. Yet and still, the veteran QB ranks 9th in fantasy points for what many consider a down season. In their early season matchup against the Lions, Rodgers went for 283 yards and 2 Tds. Given that everyone plays, look for the passing game to be very solid for the Packers.

Lions QB David Blough has been subpar in the 4 games he has played in. Like previously mentioned, he ranks as one of the worst QBs easily. Given it is a small sample size, maybe he turns things around with the home crowd behind him. The pass defense of the Packers is middle of the pack, so he won’t deal with a New England type secondary. It does not help that the Lions’ offensive line is not good. Blough was not able to throw for a TD against a dismal Buccaneers pass defense. Nothing would indicate that he has even a decent game against the Packers.

Running Game

Aaron Jones continues to make his case as a top back in this league. He ran for 154yds and 2 TDs against the Vikings, ranking 2nd in fantasy points for the season. If he is on, he is prolific and will have a big day. He does have a tendency for lackluster games, with 7 games on the year of less than 50 yards rushing. Ranking 21st against the run on the year, look for him to not have much trouble against the Lions. Given it is the last game of the regular season, backup Jamaal Williams may get more carries than usual if he’s able to play.

Kerryon Johnson was expected to have a great year. Injury kept him out for 8 games. He went for 42 yards on 10 carries last week. Look for him to receive a similar workload in a meaningless game. There is no reason to risk more injury for him in the last game. Yet and still, Green Bay ranks 23rd in run defense and he may want to get those extra carries in the last game. Bo Scarbrough is another piece that filled in nicely in the latter half of the season. The Lions have some quality backs that can have success against a suspect front 7.

Receiving Game

Injuries to Devante Adams have set him back, but he is back and healthy. Coming off back-to-back 100 yard games, look for him to thrive against a pass defense ranking last in yards given up. This will also open the door for players like Allen Lazard and Jimmy Graham. Rb Aaron Jones is a huge threat in the passing game as well. The multitude of options in receivers makes it hard to stop their passing attack. Regardless, Devante Adams will take up a huge amount of targets and is the clear best option, behind Aaron Jones.

Kenny Golladay has been the lone bright spot for this Lions team. He ranks third in the NFL for fantasy points at his position, with 11 TDs on the year. The season-ending injury to Marvin Jones Week 14 will make him even more of the focus in the receiving game. Tight end T.J. Hockenson has also been out. Look for Danny Amendola to be a focal point, although he has 10 games on the year of 50 or less yards. 

Betting Corner

The Packers are clearly the superior team. The Lions are currently 9.5 point underdogs. Coming off a huge road victory against the Vikings, the Packers may come out flat. Given it is the last game, the Lions could easily put on a great performance in this home game. The key concern is quarterback play for the Lions. David Blough has not proven he can put up great numbers outside of his Week 13 win against the Bears. Given the run and pass defense of the Lions, the Packers should not have problems winning this game.

I am an undergraduate at Carnegie Mellon University studying economics and business. I serve as a member for the Sports Analytics Club at CMU. My interests include data analysis, fantasy, player projections, and performance evaluation.

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