Breakdowns

Monday Night Preview: Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers

Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers

Here’s a preview of Monday night’s matchup between the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers, courtesy of STAT Stack:

DETROIT LIONS (0-1) @ GREEN BAY PACKERS (0-1) 8:15PM (ET)

LINE: PACKERS -11.5, TOTAL: 48.5

ONE THING THAT EVERY FAN NEEDS TO KNOW

  • Battle of the Beaten-Down

It was a rough first weekend for both teams. The Lions allowed an NFL-high 41 points in a loss to the 49ers while the Packers were beaten by a league-most 35 points in a 38-3 drubbing by the Saints. Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers had one of the worst games of his career, completing 15 of 28 passes for 133 yards and zero touchdowns while getting picked off twice. Rodgers recorded a passer rating of just 36.8, his fourth-lowest in 191 career regular-season starts. The spotlight is on Rodgers, who spent the off-season trying to get traded out of Green Bay and even contemplated retirement before finally agreeing to a contract that will essentially send him out of town after this season. This game provides an excellent “get-right” spot for Rodgers and the Packers offense as the Lions have allowed 40 or more points an NFL-high six times since the beginning of last season — no other team has done that more than three times. Rodgers has dominated the Lions over his career, leading the Packers to a 17-5 record in the 22 games he’s started against them, throwing for over 5,600 yards, with 46 TDs and 8 INTs, good for a 106.2 passer rating. Rodgers’ record on Monday Night Football is 10-8 — a 55.6% winning percentage — over 10 percentage points lower than his career winning percentage on any other day of the week (66.1%).

TRENDS THAT EVERY SPORTS BETTOR NEEDS TO KNOW

  • Misleading Trends…

We discussed how Aaron Rodgers has dominated the Lions in his career. Imagine our surprise when we investigated the recent history of this rivalry and found that in the last 8 contests, Green Bay is 1-7 ATS. That can’t be right! It is, but it requires context. It is true that despite winning 4 straight games against Detroit, the Packers are only 1-3 vs. the number. One of the eight games in 2018 was a Week 17 matchup in which Rodgers only played a couple of series, and he did not play in either of the 2017 matchups. Prior to that, Rodgers was 11-4 ATS against the Lions in games he started and did not leave due to injury or rest. His overall record vs. DET in games that he started and finished is 12-7 ATS, but a lot of that success came earlier in his career.

BETTING MARKET DOESN’T CARE ABOUT PACKERS BLOWOUT

Despite getting lambasted in Week 1 by the Saints, the Packers are attracting 58% of the tickets and 83% of the money bet, though Action Network is reporting sharp action (pro bettors) on Detroit. The line has also slid toward the Packers, opening at Lions +10 and moving to +11.5.

ANALYTICAL ANALYSIS THAT EVERY SPORTS NERD NEEDS TO KNOW

  • Don’t Blame Us!

Aaron Rodgers had one of the worst statistical performances of his career in Week 1, both in traditional numbers and in analytics. He was Pro Football Focus’ 2nd-worst-graded passer (ahead of only Ben Roethlisberger) with a mark of 43.3 (out of 100); he and Ben were the only two QBs with a grade under 50. With a game like that, you might assume that the offensive line wasn’t giving him the time he needed, but the numbers say that wasn’t the case. According to PFF, four of the five offensive linemen graded out at “above-average” or better, with LT Elgton Jenkins grading out as the second-best offensive tackle in Week 1 (behind 49ers Trent Williams). Rodgers’ LG, Lucas Patrick, was Top 10 among guards, and rookie C Josh Myers was Top 5 among centers in his first career NFL game. According to Next Gen Stats, Rodgers’ average time to throw was 2.94 seconds — the fifth-longest in the NFL in Week 1.

Despite the time to throw, Rodgers couldn’t get anything going down the field. His average air yards per throw was 8.0, but his average air yards per completion was 3.9 yards — that 4.1-yard difference was the second-worst in the NFL in Week 1 (Miami’s Tua Tagovailoa had a -4.4). Last season, Rodgers was one of the best in the NFL at completing passes that he shouldn’t. He ranked 3rd in the NFL with a +4.3% differential between his completion percentage (70.7%) and his expected completion percentage (66.4%), trailing only Josh Allen (+4.6%) and Deshaun Watson (+4.8%). But Sunday, the opposite was true: Rodgers completed 4.2% LESS of his passes than he should have, which was 7th-worst in the league.

It’s just one game and Rodgers remains an elite-level NFL quarterback, but Packers fans must be a little concerned that he struggled so badly despite a strong performance from his offensive line. If Rodgers struggles again, especially against a team that just gave up 41 points to an offense led by a, then it might be time to panic on the tundra.

This preview was originally published by STAT Stack, a division of STAT Factor. STAT Stack is an email newsletter that provides the most important information on the biggest games in sports. To subscribe to STAT Stack, click here.

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