It’s hard to find a better combination than Thanksgiving and football. In my book, that duo is undefeated, and that time of year has finally arrived, with the only difference being this year, the Lions are one of the best teams in the NFL. It’s been quite a while since the Lions were this relevant by this point in the season, and now they take all of that momentum into a Thanksgiving matchup with a divisional foe in the Packers.
Even putting all of the positive energy and holiday cheer in Detroit aside, I’ll break down why I like the Lions to go into halftime with a nice lead.
It wasn’t always pretty, but the Lions' 31-26 win over the Bears this past weekend has them on a three-game winning streak entering this week. Since their blowout loss to the Ravens in week seven, the Lions offense has put up three straight weeks with a positive EPA, and a big reason for that is their run game.
Early in the season, it was hard to understand why the Lions drafted Jahmyr Gibbs so early in the draft just to not utilize him, but since week seven, their usage of him has given this offense new energy. Detroit has rushed for over 115 yards in three straight weeks, and even with the return of David Montogomery this past week, the Lions were able to use both of their strengths to create success.
That combination helped offset Jared Goff's three interceptions against the Bears, which will not happen often as he is 9th in completion percentage. Goff had a solid day against the Packers' defense in their first meeting this season, and he is set up for success again this weekend since Green Bay has produced a negative EPA on defense in four of their last five games.
Despite putting up a (-2.45) EPA on defense last weekend, Green Bay was able to come away with a 23-20 win over the Chargers. That win marked the first time since week two the Packers scored more than 20 points, finishing with a season-high offensive EPA of (12.80).
Green Bay has also discovered their run game recently, rushing for over 100 yards in five of their last six games. This has helped open things up for Jordan Love, as he is coming off a season-high 322 yards. This week, the question is, can they establish the run against a Lions team that is 5th in rushing yards allowed per game?
Currently, the Lions are favored by (-7.5), but for my play, I’ll be taking their 1H spread of (-4)(-115). Detroit is 7-3 ATS in the first half this season, with four of those wins coming at home. While they have been solid all season, Detroit truly plays their best at home, which is evident when you see they are averaging 17 points per game in the first half at home, which is the 5th highest average in the league.
Not only are the Packers 14th in average points allowed in the first half, but they are also 4-6 ATS in the first half this season. Green Bay got exposed by the Lions' run game when these teams first met, and that was prior to the Lions getting Jahmyr Gibbs fully integrated into the offense. The Packers are still struggling to slow opponents’ run game, allowing 150+ rushing yards in their past two games and ranking 24th in yards allowed per attempt.
Detroit should be able to find the endzone early in this matchup, but they should also be able to limit Jordan Love and the Packers' offense. The Lions are 7th in 1H points allowed at home, and if they can shut down the Packers run game, I don’t see Jordan Love being able to find the success he did last week.
Detroit Lions 1H (-4)(-115) on BetMGM