It took 25 years but the Detroit Lions (4-7) finally snapped their road losing streak to the Green Bay Packers (7-4) earlier this season, and now they also hope to sweep their NFC North rivals for the first time in a quarter century on “Thursday Night Football” at Ford Field.
After starting the season 1-7, the Lions have won three straight, starting with Week 10’s 18-16 triumph over Green Bay at Lambeau for the first time since 1991. That same year was also the last time Detroit went a perfect 2-0 against the Packers.
And considering the Packers are mired in a 1-4 skid after starting the season a perfect 6-0, Detroit could very well hamper Green Bay’s chances of regaining the division lead from Minnesota or even retaining the NFC’s top wild card spot.
Still the Lions open Week 13 as three-point home underdogs largely due to a rash of ankle injuries on both sides of the ball and Green Bay’s overall dominance of the division series of late. Top receiver Calvin Johnson, safety Glover Quin, defensive tackle Caraun Reid, receiver Lance Moore, center Travis Swanson, and defensive tackle Gabe Wright all made Detroit’s official injury report with ankle injuries on Monday.
Quin left Detroit’s 45-14 trouncing of Philadelphia on Thanksgiving early after spraining his ankle, but returned to practice on Monday after sitting out the previous day’s session. Johnson, who caught a season-high three touchdowns against the Eagles, was a limited participant at Monday’s practice after resting on Sunday.
Both returning to practice, especially Quin keeping up his streak of 95 consecutive starts, could be a good sign Detroit is ready to eat into Green Bay’s stellar play on their home turf. The Packers have gone 8-5 at Ford Field since it opened in 2002, and Green Bay head coach Mike McCarthy’s gone 15-4 against the Lions during his 10-year tenure. Overall Green Bay’s won 24 of its last 30 games against Detroit.
But the Packers are in an unfamiliar and weakened state after their 17-13 Thanksgiving loss to Chicago. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers completed a season-low 51.2 percent of his passes for 202 yards and one touchdown to one interception, and the Packers went a dismal 3-for-11 on third down to fall to No. 22 in the league with a 35.8 percent success rate.
Rodgers, who alsi dealt with a shoulder injury at some point during Green Bay’s slide, reportedly said he experienced lost feeling in the fingers on his left hand in the second half against the Bears. However, Rodgers did not make the Packers injury report this week.
Instead star linebacker Julius Peppers headlined Green Bay’s injury report and was one of five Packers who didn’t participate in Monday’s session. Leading the team with 6.0 sacks but only recording one half sack in November, Peppers' absence was listed as “not injury related” as he missed his first practice with Green Bay since signing with the club in 2014.
Like Detroit, Green Bay’s also dealing with ankle injuries to key contributors. Starting tackle Bryan Bulaga, center Corey Linsley, and rookie receiver Ty Montgomery are each battling a bad ankle, though Linsley was a limited participant in Monday’s practice while Bulaga and Montgomery sat out.
Betting Odds: Green Bay -3
Over/Under: 47 points
Prediction: Green Bay over Detroit, 30-20