Packers Will Beat Lions In NFC North Winner-Take-All-Game

Aaron Rodgers Runs With The Ball

Matthew Jordan

Tuesday, December 27, 2016 2:35 PM UTC

Tuesday, Dec. 27, 2016 2:35 PM UTC

We know who 10 of the teams in the NFL's postseason will be. The final two spots in the NFC as well as the North Division title will in one way or another be decided in Sunday night's Green Bay at Detroit game. The Packers opened at -3.5.

Playoff Scenarios

The simplest route to the playoffs for both the Packers and Lions (each 9-6) is to win Sunday and claim the NFC North -- the Lions haven't won a division crown since 1993. Green Bay had won the North four straight years beginning in 2011 but lost a Week 17 winner-take-all game last year at home to Minnesota and had to settle for a wild-card spot.

Green Bay could land anywhere from the NFC's No. 3 overall seed to missing the playoffs entirely. More likely, the winner of the NFC North will earn the fourth seed. If the Packers lose this game but the New York Giants win at the Washington Redskins earlier Sunday, then the Packers would be the No. 6 seed. But the Giants are already locked into their seed and thus seem likely to rest their starters. A Green Bay loss and Washington win eliminates the Pack.

Detroit could land anywhere from the NFC's No. 2 seed to out of the postseason. To get a first-round bye, the Lions would have to win and have the Saints upset the Falcons in Atlanta and 49ers to the same to visiting Seattle. I don't expect either result to happen. Detroit would miss the playoffs with a loss and Redskins victory at the Giants.

Got all that?


Extra Time Benefits Packers

The Packers have a huge edge here in terms of time in between games as they played last Saturday afternoon and easily handled visiting Minnesota 38-25 for their fifth straight win. Aaron Rodgers continued his push to win a third career NFL MVP Award by throwing for 347 yards and four touchdowns. He also ran for a score. Jordy Nelson caught nine passes for 154 yards and two scores. Rodgers hasn't thrown an interception during the winning streak. Green Bay is 8-6-1 against the spread on NFL odds this season.

Detroit played Monday night and looked good for a half before losing 42-21 at NFC top-seeded Dallas. It was the Lions' second straight one-sided defeat and QB Matthew Stafford hasn't looked the same since tearing ligaments on the middle finger of his throwing hand in Week 14 vs. Chicago. He was also beaten like a drum behind an iffy offensive line by Dallas. The Lions defense, meanwhile, clearly  missed top cornerback Darius Slay, who was out with a hamstring injury. It's not clear if he plays here, but I'd imagine if humanly possible he will. Detroit is 8-7 ATS on NFL picks.

The Lions were 6-point underdogs when they visited Green Bay in Week 3 and lost 34-27. It was 31-3 late in the second quarter. Rodgers threw for 205 yards and four TDs. Nelson caught two of them. Stafford threw for 385 yard and three scores.

The favorite is 8-1 ATS in the past nine meetings in the series. I think that trend continues and the Lions miss the playoffs as the Redskins should win at the Giants earlier Sunday.

NFL Free Pick: Packers -3.5Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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