Stephen Nover's Sunday Night Game of the Month
Green Bay vs. Detroit,
01/01/2017 20:30 EDT,
Score: 31 - 24
Point Spread: -3/-120 Green Bay
These two teams are going in opposite directions. The Packers are peaking while the Lions are sinking.
Green Bay is riding a five-game winning streak and has the confidence of already beating Detroit this season and of having made the playoffs the past seven seasons. Detroit has lost two in a row and has a history of choking.
Jordy Nelson has regained his pre-knee surgery star status and it's sparked the Packers offense. Aaron Rodgers still is in his prime, has found a reliable ground option in Ty Montgomery and has the best pass-protecting offensive line in football.
The Lions were torched this past Monday by the Cowboys giving up 42 points. Detroit has just 14 takeaways and 25 sacks on the season. Their secondary is beat-up likely to be without their top cornerback, Darius Slay, and nickel back. They are extremely weak at three of the defensive backfield spots. Slay is dealing with a hamstring injury, one of the worst injuries a cornerback can have. He'll be a liability if he plays because he's not close to 100 percent.
The Packers are going to get their share of points here. The key question is can the Lions keep up with their mediocre offense. Detroit lacks Green Bay's offensive personnel. Detroit's offensive line is merely average and its running backs are below par. The Lions have no star wide receivers. Matthew Stafford has made the Lions offense go as he's proven he's an above average quarterback and not just an inconsistent gunslinger who sometimes flashes.
However, Stafford has been playing the last couple of weeks with a dislocation and torn ligaments in the middle fingers of his passing hand. This has forced him to play with a glove on his passing hand and he hasn't been effective because of it throwing more wobbly passes rather than tight spirals. In the last two games, Stafford's completion percentage has been 61.5 percent and 56.5 percent when on the season his percentage is 65.5. Stafford needs to have a high completion percentage because the Lions offense has been geared on short passes ever since the middle of last season when they made a change in offensive coordinators going to Jim Bob Cooter.