The Green Bay Packers (13-3) have clinched the NFC’s top seed for the second year in a row. They take on the Detroit Lions (2-13-1) in the final game of coach Dan Campbell’s rookie season. But what about the NFL odds?
Green Bay Packers vs. Detroit Lions
Sunday, January 09, 2022 – 01:00 PM EST at Ford Field
The Packers (12-4 ATS) are an 11-point favorite over the Lions (10-6 ATS) at many of BMR’s top-rated sportsbooks. That line could be heavily subject to change with uncertainty over how much the Packers will play starters, including Aaron Rodgers (toe injury) and Davante Adams, given the top seed is a lock.
Packers: To Play or to Rest?
There is little doubt that if the Packers went full throttle with starters in Detroit’s dome, they would score a lot of points. The Packers just scored 37 points on the Vikings in a below-zero wind chill on Sunday night. Aaron Rodgers putting the finishing touches on an MVP season and Davante Adams chasing a single-season franchise receiving record would both have a field day in this one, but do we see them at all?
Head coach Matt LaFleur has been indecisive about if the Packers would rest with the top seed locked up and a week of rest already guaranteed. Rodgers may not want to repeat what happened in 2011, his first MVP season when the Packers rested him in the season finale. He did not take the field for three weeks and came out rusty in an upset loss to the Giants that year in the playoffs.
That’s really the only season in his career where the Packers had the luxury to rest in the last game. Last season, there was still some work to do, but the Packers were quoted as saying they would play their starters even with the top seed locked up. So, it remains to be seen if that will change this year.
Jordan Love made his first and only start in Kansas City this year and it did not go well. The Packers scored 7 points and it is the only game since Week 2 where the offense had multiple turnovers. Take Adams and perhaps Aaron Jones away from Love as weapons, and it could be a grind in Detroit.
Of course, the Lions have their own quarterback questions to answer. Jared Goff has missed the last two games with a knee injury. Even with Goff playing relatively well in Green Bay in Week 2, the Lions still lost 35-17.
Detroit: Best of the Worst?
Campbell’s Lions have by far the best spread record (10-6 ATS) of any team with a losing record straight up this season. Detroit has been very competitive at times, but the Lions’ four-blown fourth-quarter leads are tied for the most in 2021.
The Lions may have the second-worst record in the league this year, but this team has generally played better than the Jets, Texans, Jaguars, and Giants, the only other teams with at least a dozen losses. The Lions would have had a better chance to upset the Browns and Falcons if Goff was available instead of backup quarterback Tim Boyle.
Boyle got the start in Seattle on Sunday and led the team to 29 points, but he also threw three interceptions. It was the first time all season the Lions had more than two giveaways in a game. Boyle would get the start again if Goff can’t go, but again, we don’t know if it will be Boyle vs. Rodgers or Goff vs. mostly Love at this point.
The Packers are the best covering team in the NFL under LaFleur, who is 34-18 ATS (65.4%) since 2019. His only unimpressive split is that he’s 7-6 ATS as a road favorite. The Packers caught a break last week with Kirk Cousins testing positive for COVID at the last minute. Prior to that, the Packers were barely winning close games to the Ravens with Tyler Huntley at quarterback and Cleveland’s Baker Mayfield throwing four picks on Christmas.
I am going to trust Campbell to get his guys to fight hard for one more game this year and cover the spread up to as low as 8 points. But if you can get it early at Lions +11, then that should be your NFL pick here.
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.