Green Bay Packers (13-3, 12-4 ATS) at Detroit Lions (2-13-1, 10-6), 1 p.m.
Brolley’s Packers Stats and Trends
The Packers locked up homefield advantage and the NFC’s opening-round bye with their victory over the Vikings on Sunday Night Football. Aaron Rodgers could use some time off since he’s been playing through a broken toe in the second half of the season, and we should expect the likes of Davante Adams, Aaron Jones, and A.J. Dillon to join A-Rod on the sidelines for all or most of the game.
The Packers beat the Lions 35-17 as 11.5-point home favorites in a game totaled at 50 points back in Week 2.
Green Bay is tied with Dallas for the best ATS record at 12-4.
The Packers are 5-1 toward overs in their last six games.
Jordan Love and Green Bay’s backups should handle the majority of work against the Lions in the season finale. Love completed 19/34 passes for 190 yards (5.6 YPA), one TD, and one INT in his lone start in Week 9 against the Chiefs. Amari Rodgers, Equanimeous St. Brown, and Juwann Winfree will likely see the most time at WR while Patrick Taylor should lead the backfield in work this week. The Lions allowed a season-high 51 points in a loss to the previously lethargic Seahawks’ offense last week.
Brolley’s Lions Stats and Trends
The Lions are 6-2 ATS in their last eight games.
Detroit is 10-4 toward unders in its last 14 games.
Jared Goff has missed the last two games with COVID and a knee injury. He was heating up before his absence, posting multiple TD passes in three of his last four games after throwing for just one TD in five games in Weeks 5-10. Tim Boyle is averaging 224.5 passing yards per game and 6.3 YPA with three TDs and four INTs over the last two weeks.
Amon-Ra St. Brown continues to be a revelation ever since he scored the game-winning touchdown in Detroit’s first victory of the season against the Vikings in Week 13. He’s posted 8+ catches, 10+ targets, and 70+ yards with four TDs overall in his last five games. Jarvis Landry posted 4/55 receiving on seven targets in this matchup two weeks ago.
D’Andre Swift saw a backfield-best 57% of the snaps in his first game back since Week 12, but it resulted in just 4/32 rushing and 2/7 receiving on three targets. Jamaal Williams led the backfield with 11/22/1 rushing and 3/22 receiving on a 32% snap share while Craig Reynolds managed just 4/4 rushing with a nine-yard catch on a 22% share. Swift posted 12/78 scrimmage and Williams had 10/37 scrimmage back when these teams met all the way back in Week 2.
Barfield’s Pace and Tendencies
Pace (seconds in between plays): 31.7 (29th)
Plays per game: 65.3 (10th)
Pass: 59.8% (21st) | Run: 40.2% (12th)
Pace: 29.7 (22nd)
Plays per game: 60.1 (28th)
Pass: 56.3% (24th) | Run: 43.7% (9th)
All pace / play data is from the last eight weeks.
Packers HC Matt LaFleur can say whatever he wants, it would be beyond dumb for him to play their starters significantly against the Lions. The markets aren’t buying LaFleur’s coachspeak, either. Green Bay is only favored by 3.5 points (as of Thursday evening) and that number would easily be Packers -14 if Aaron Rodgers were to start and play a full game. This is the third-slowest pace game of the week, but there is a bit of scoring appeal here if the Lions get Jared Goff (knee) back with Detroit largely playing against Green Bay’s backups.
Huber’s Key Matchup Notes
If Jordan Love ends up drawing the start for Aaron Rodgers, he will certainly have a nice matchup in his hands. Detroit hass handed QBs 16.0 FPG through the air (fourth-most). That number is fueled by offering 244.0 passing YPG (eighth-most), 7.67 YPA (third-most), 15.5% completion rate on 20-plus throws (fifth-highest), and 38.5% passing first down rate (third-highest).
I’ve come up short in envisioning scenarios where Aaron Jones and Davante Adams play enough/see enough volume to cover value. Keeping Mr. Rodgers on the field throughout just doesn’t make all that much sense while he’s dealing with the excruciating toe pain. Resting him this week would offer that fractured toe three full weeks of rest since playing in Week 17.
Over the last five weeks, Amon-Ra St. Brown has accumulated the third-most targets (54), second-most receptions (43), fifth-most receiving yards (451), fourth-most TDs (four), sixth-most YPRR (2.59), and fifth-most yards after the catch (189). With an average of 8.6 receptions/game during his five-game heater, if ARSB simply mirrors that average, he will become one of only six WRs to post 91 receptions in a rookie season in NFL history. If he tacks on an additional catch, he’ll join Anquan Boldin, Jaylen Waddle, and Michael Thomas as one of only four to ever catch at least 92 balls as a rookie.
Dolan’s Vantage Points
So, despite the Packers locking up the #1 seed in the NFC, coach Matt LaFleur says his team is going to play its starters in Week 18.
Davante Adams said he’s not worried about potential injuries playing in a meaningless game because you can get hurt crossing the street:— Matt Schneidman (@mattschneidman) January 5, 2022
“At this point, you can’t run from me. If you scared, go to church.”
Davante Adams on expectations for how long he'll play Sunday in Detroit: "I don't plan on playing the whole game, but if that's what my coach wanted me to do, I would have zero issue with that."— Ryan Wood (@ByRyanWood) January 5, 2022
Let it be known that Las Vegas does not buy this — the game opened as an 11-point spread, fell all the way down to 2, and has risen again given the murky situation, but even Davante Adams said he doesn’t expect to play the whole game. As with other situations, I’d be absolutely floored if Aaron Rodgers (who, remember, is dealing with a toe injury), Adams, Aaron Jones (knee) and the like play more than a quarter or so. It just doesn’t make sense. I expect a lot of Juwann Winfree, Patrick Taylor, and Equanimeous St. Brown.
As for the Lions, it looks like QB Jared Goff (knee) wants to end his season in the lineup, and is expected to start.
Dan Campbell wants to see “continued development” out of his #Lions players in the regular season finale vs. Green Bay. “Are they taking a step up from last week or continuing to take the right steps into this last week,” he said.— Eric Woodyard (@E_Woodyard) January 5, 2022
The Lions are going to play their guys, which could make RB D’Andre Swift and certainly WR Amon-Ra St. Brown intriguing Week 18 options against a Packer team that won’t be giving 100%.