Lions (2-1) at Packers (2-1)
Spread: Packers +1
Weather: No current concerns.
The Line Report
The spread for this contest has settled between Green Bay Packers +1 and Packers +1.5.
The total hasn’t seen significant line movement yet, either, as that’s between 45.5 and 46 points.
Packers Offense vs. Lions Defense
Green Bay has several significant injury situations to monitor. Wide receiver Christian Watson and running back Aaron Jones could miss this contest. So could left tackle David Bakhtiari and offensive tackle/guard Elgton Jenkins. You could make an airtight argument that those are the Packers’ four best players on offense.
Thankfully for Packers enthusiasts, QB Jordan Love already has shown that he can play well with a limited supporting cast. We shouldn’t view Green Bay as a high-ceiling offense, but it has been a solid group despite its injury limitations. RB A.J. Dillon has been ineffective with Jones sidelined, running for just 107 yards on 39 carries. The Detroit Lions’ run defense has been excellent so far allowing just 2.9 yards per carry.
Watson has missed the first three games of the season, which has Romeo Doubs and Jayden Reed tied for the team lead in target share (21.1 percent). Detroit has held up well against receivers, but the Lions have given up the most yards to tight ends this season. Packers rookie tight end Luke Musgrave has caught 11 of 15 targets for 124 receiving yards. Musgrave’s 15 targets are tied for ninth-best among tight ends. If Watson returns, he’s a field stretcher who should create space for everyone, but especially Musgrave.
Lions Offense vs. Packers Defense
The only Lions starting offensive lineman that isn’t on the injury report is right tackle Penei Sewell. The Lions’ offensive line is one of their strengths. They played well last season without a few starters, but they’ll face a highly capable Packers front.
Jared Goff is a pressure-sensitive quarterback. If Goff is comfortable, he can shred most NFL defenses. If he’s under consistent duress, he’s an entirely different player. If Detroit goes into this game down multiple starting offensive linemen, that will impact Goff the most.
Amon-Ra St. Brown continues to be a beacon of stability, as he’s top 10 in targets and receiving yards. Last season against Green Bay, St. Brown was held to 55 receiving yards or less in both matchups. Consider Josh Reynolds, Marvin Jones Jr. and Kalif Raymond as highly volatile role players. Rookie TE Sam Laporta is second at the position in targets and receptions, while he leads all tight ends in receiving yards.
With David Montgomery sidelined, rookie Jahmyr Gibbs ran for 80 yards on 17 carries, while seeing just two targets. Montgomery was a limited practice participant early this week, though it would probably make sense for Detroit to sideline him on the short week. The Packers were a better pass defense than a run defense last year, and things are trending that way so far in 2023.
What You’re Betting On
Both teams have a number of significant players on the injury report. Last season, Detroit beat Green Bay 15-9 and 20-16 in the regular-season finale.
If you’re betting on the Packers, you are building that bet around their highly capable defense. So far this season, that talented group has played well, but they still haven’t hit their full potential. Green Bay is a better pass defense than they are against the run. If Detroit limps into this game without Montgomery and multiple starters on their offensive line, that’s a major positive for Green Bay. Offensively, Love has been good despite being without Watson and Jones the past two weeks. Even when they return, building a bet around the Packers’ offense is an ambitious stance. Homefield advantage matters on Thursday Night Football, which is especially an edge when two comparable teams square off.
The Lions are a tough, consistent football team whose defense is the primary reason they’ve won two games. Last season, both matchups went under their game total. Both offenses are banged up, especially on their offensive lines. If you’re betting on Detroit in this matchup, you are building that wager around another solid effort from its defense. If Montgomery and the Lions’ offensive line are trending toward full goes, you can also bet on Detroit’s running game in this matchup. If the Lions’ offensive line enters this contest down multiple starters, that creates more of an uphill battle for Goff in particular.
Score Prediction: Lions 20, Packers 17
Ryan’s Recent Betting Record
ATS 2021: 49-31
ATS 2022: 48-32
ATS 2023: 7-8
Props 2022: 60-40
Props 2023: 5-4