It always seems to come down to this. Despite the fact that the Packers are looking to win their fifth division championship in six seasons they have not completely dominated the division. The Packers have had to play in NFC North championship games in 2013 (win), 2014 (win), 2015 (loss) and now in 2016. They also lost a week 17 2012 game that would have kept Minnesota out of the playoffs.
It seems to be much easier for other programs that dominate their divisions. The Packers always seem to win the North, but they never seem to be coasting into the last week of the season.
It will again. Green Bay has stormed back from a 4-6 mark after 10 games to stand atop the North at 9-6. A win in Detroit against the reeling Lions will secure them a home playoff game. A Washington loss before this game is even played would actually result in both squads qualifying for the postseason, but I’m not sure that’s in the cards. The Giants don’t have anything to play for, and though they might be a better team than Washington, they have no reason to play their key guys.
Why the Packers will win: Green Bay is an awful matchup for Detroit. That was evident the first time the two teams played and Green Bay held a 31-3 lead at one point. The Packers throw the ball well, and Detroit doesn’t defend the pass. They aren’t particularly adept at stopping the run either. I’d expect Montgomery to look a bit more like he did against Chicago than the way that he played against the Vikings.
On defense, the Packers are at their best when they’re not worrying about a specific receiver. The Lions lack of a go to guy (and Theo Riddick) doesn’t make them a great matchup for the Packers defense, but it doesn’t make them a terrible one, either. Detroit will get theirs, but Rodgers might have the Packers in track meet status.
The Lions have been specifically poor on offense since an injury to Matthew Stafford’s throwing hand (finger). They’re averaging fewer than 14 points since that all happened. They’ve also lost both games by double digit points.
Why the Lions will win: annnnnnnnnnnnd they won’t! I’m pretty confident in this one. I can see Detroit making things look better than they really were at the end of the game but they are so bad defensively that on turf, and with as many Packers fans as are going to be at that game, Detroit is in trouble.
Bottom Line: Green Bay’s resurgence, specifically their offensive resurgence has come against quality opponents, and quality defenses. During this most recent Packers run, they’ve gone agains the NFL’s 4th, 6th, 8th, 13th, and 18th ranked defenses via FootballOutsiders’s DVOA. That is not this Lion’s group. Detroit ranks 32nd in the league defensively. There are 32 teams in said league. Their 32nd ranked pass defense certainly attributes to that. Right now Aaron Rodgers is the best football player in the world again. I don’t care what you think of GB’s D. Rodgers as he is on turf against the worst pass defense in football is too much. Packers 41 Lions 27