NFL Week 11 odds: Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions

The Lions have won just three of their past 23 games vs. Green Bay, but Detroit faces a near must-win to keep realistic playoff hopes – especially because the Lions face Super Bowl favorite Houston on Thanksgiving Day.

Though the Packers were on a roll with four straight wins, they needed last week’s bye. Their injured list was already cramped, with top receiver Greg Jennings, perennial Pro Bowl defensive back Charles Woodson and workhorse running back Cedric Benson among the headliners. Three more starters – Clay Matthews, Jordy Nelson and Bryan Bulaga – were hurt in the victory over Arizona, and Bulaga was placed on injured reserve Monday.

Matthews will miss Sunday’s game in Detroit with a hamstring injury. Coach Mike McCarthy says the absence this weekend was expected. Matthews was hurt in the second half of Green Bay’s Nov. 4 game. The Pack again will be without Woodson, Benson and Jennings as well.

After a loss at Minnesota last Sunday, the Lions remain in last place in the NFC North at 4-5. Their playoff hopes are looking tenuous, especially with a tough schedule the rest of the way. The Lions allowed 45 points to the Packers when the teams met at the end of last season, and the questions about Detroit’s defense haven’t gone away.

The Packers may be banged up, but they still have a healthy Aaron Rodgers. They also have had Detroit’s number the past two decades. If the Lions are going to make the playoffs, this is a must game for Detroit. The Lions lead the league with 307.3 passing yards per game, and Calvin Johnson is coming off his finest performance of the season with 12 catches for 207 yards and a touchdown. But they want to buck a trend of slow starts that has forced them to play from behind and rely so much on that passing attack.

The Packers lead the league with 26 touchdown passes, but they’ll need to be more balanced to get far in the postseason. The Lions were gashed for 189 yards on the ground in their Week 10 loss to the Vikings and have been inconsistent defending the run most of the year. Look for Packers coach Mike McCarthy to work for more balance with conventional downhill power plays and draws between the tackles as well as jet sweeps or a reverse to stretch the perimeter.

The Packers are 5-1 after a bye week under McCarthy. Green Bay’s average margin of victory is 15.6 points per game. Throw in the fact McCarthy has an 11-1 career mark against the Lions and no wonder the Pack are favorites.

WAGERWEB.COM ODDS: Packers -3.5 (51.5)

PACKERS NOTES: QB Aaron Rodgers has 25 TDs & is 1st in NFL history with 25 pass TDs in team’s 1st 9 games in 2 different seasons. Is 1 of 4 QBs in NFL history with 10 games with 4 pass TDs in 3-season span. In 6 starts vs. Det. with 15 att., is 6-0 with 69.7 comp. pct., 1,830 yards (305 per game), 16 TDs vs. 3 INTs & 120.2 rating. Packers are 25-0 when he starts & has 115 rating … WR-PR-KR Randall Cobb is only player in NFL with 500 KR (556), 500 receiving (500), 200 PR (211) & 50 rush (96) yards. Has 5 rec. TDs in past 3 & aims for 4th in row with TD. In last meeting, WR Jordy Nelson had career-high 162 yards & tied career-highs with 9 catches & 3 TDs. WR James Jones has TD in 3 of past 4 at Det. WR Greg Jennings has 9 TDs in past 10 vs. division … Since 2010 (incl. playoffs), CB Tramon Williams ties for NFL lead with 15 INTs. CB Casey Hayward leads all rookies with 4 INTs…

LIONS NOTES: In last meeting, QB Matthew Stafford passed for franchise-record 520 yards & tied team record with 5 TDs. Has 3 career games with 5 pass TDs … RB Mikel LeShoure has 3 rush TDs in past 2. RB Joique Bell ranks 3rd among NFL RBs with 307 rec. yards … WR Calvin Johnson had career-high 244 yards (11 catches, TD) in last meeting. In 9 career meetings, has 10 rec. TDs. Last week had career-best 12 catches for 207 yards & TD. Has 3 200-yard rec. games in career, tied for 5th most in NFL history. Leads NFL with 974 rec. yards. Since 2011, has 2,655 rec. yards, most in NFL, & his 106.2 yards per game avg. during span ranks 1st. Since 2008, has 47 TD catches, most in NFL. WR Titus Young had 2 TDs in last meeting. Since 2010, TE Brandon Pettigrew is 3rd among NFL TEs with 196 catches. In last game vs. GB, had 7 catches for career-high 116 yards … Cliff Avril is 1 of 5 in NFL with 15 sacks (15.5) & 6 FFs (6) since 2011. Had sack & FF in last home meeting. Since 2010, DT Ndamukong Suh has 17.5 sacks, tied for most by DT. Had sack in last game vs GB.

WAGERWEB.COM TRENDS: Lions are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 vs. NFC North. Lions are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games after allowing more than 30 points in their previous game. Over is 5-1 in Lions last 6 games following a S.U. loss. Over is 8-2-1 in Lions last 11 games overall. Packers are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 meetings in Detroit. Packers are 9-3 ATS in their last 12 meetings.

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