The Lions are +1160 to make the playoffs over at FanDuel.
Boy, this 2020 has been something else, eh?
Seriously: The Lions are 19th in total offense and 28th in total defense, and they have roughly the same odds to make the playoffs as any egg does of being randomly selected out of a carton.
The Lions somehow managed to rally past a Bears team that went into hibernation in the 4th quarter last week, keeping those one egg-in-a-dozen hopes alive. But a loss to the Packers this week … well, to stretch this metaphor to its breaking point, the Lions’ chances of making the playoffs will probably look like that same random egg, but cracked and busted.
Is this to say the Lions don’t have a chance to beat their longtime rival at home? No. But Michigan oddsmakers aren’t feeling overly generous this week. They were last week, installing a Lions team without Kenny Golladay and D’Andre Swift — and their starting cornerbacks — as only three-point dogs, on the road, in Chicago, and we know how that played out. But this game, at home? The Packers are favored by 7.5 points across the board with a 55.5 over/under. Lions moneyline bettors? Best odds are over at DraftKings at +335.
On the field, Aaron Rodgers is willing himself into the MVP race. He has tossed 23 touchdowns over the last seven games — a 5-2 stretch for the NFC North leaders. Back in week 2, Rodgers “only” went for two touchdowns in the Packers’ 42-21 victory, a game that saw the electric Aaron Jones go for 236 yards and three total touchdowns.
Of course, the Lions are 28th in rushing yards allowed per game, so … eesh.
Honestly, though, the Lions should sell out to stop the pass, as it’s becoming clear Rodgers is gunning for that MVP award. Of course, “selling out to stop the pass” equals “selling out to stop Davante Adams” and that’s no small feat.
The Packers offense should legitimately smash here, no matter what they choose to do.
So can the Lions keep up?
Maybe, especially if Swift is back and at full health after missing three games, first with a concussion and then with a mystery, non-COVID illness.
If he’s back and healthy, interim head coach Darrell Bevell would be wise to feed him early and often. The Packers, as it turns out, don’t particularly care if teams run the ball on them. While they only give up the 14th most rushing yards per game, they’re 25th in yards per carry allowed. If the Packers are going to continue to do that, getting the ball in Swift’s hands will be the surest path to keeping this game close and keeping Rodgers and Co. off the field.
Golladay, the other injured superstar, was not at practice Wednesday and, as of this writing, is not expected to play, leaving Matthew Stafford with Marvin Jones, T.J. Hockenson, and a handful of guys who might be out of the league in three years.
Listen: This game is winnable-ish for the Lions. They’re at home, the Packers might overlook them, the Lions might be playing with some pizzazz under Bevell.
Hey – it’s 2020. Stranger things, man.