The Green Bay Packers are living up to the preseason NFL predictions. But they are doing so through a thick veil of adversity. Early in the season, quarterback Aaron Rodgers lost his primary tight end Jermichael Finley, and wide receiver Donald Driver has been playing on a bad leg all season.
At one point, there were more injured starters than non-injured starters on defense for the Packers. But the Packers got through all of that and are in a dogfight with the Chicago Bears for the NFC North title. Every game counts for the Packers and a healthy Green Bay team is bad news for the opposition.
The Detroit Lions were showing signs of improvement all season long. But starting quarterback Matthew Stafford has been hurt most of the season, and rookie running back Jahvid Best has also had problems staying healthy. Backup quarterback Shaun Hill is out, which puts third-string quarterback Drew Stanton under center. The Lions have assembled the personnel for a winning team, they just have not had the time to play together. Hopefully the Lions will get a chance to develop as a team in 2011 and give the NFL betting world a reason to believe in the NFL scores the Lions will be putting up.
Aaron Rodgers has shown that he is an elite NFL quarterback. All he needs to do now is find some success in the playoffs to be remembered as one of the elite quarterbacks of all time. Rodgers has plenty of time, but he will be hard-pressed to find a team with the resiliency of this one.
The problem for the Packers is they have no running game. Everything they do on offense relies on Rodgers. Rodgers has 3,243 passing yards and 23 touchdowns this season. Rodgers is also second on the Packers’ rushing list this season with 289 rushing yards. Running back Brandon Jackson needs to step up his game to take some of the pressure off Aaron Rodgers and make this Packers offense really potent.
The Lions are in a shambles right now. They are down to their third-string quarterback and their rookie running back cannot stay healthy. The offensive line in Detroit is not where it needs to be to support the talent the offense has. When quarterback Matthew Stafford, running back Jahvid Best and wide receiver Calvin Johnson are all in the game, the Lions are a decent team. But until there is an offensive line in Detroit that can give that offense some time to produce plays, the Lions will have problems scoring points.
When the Green Bay defense is healthy, it is one of the best in football. Linebacker Clay Mathews is a threat to sack the quarterback and stuff the run. The defensive line for Green Bay is huge but agile. There is very little the front seven for the Packers cannot do. The problem for the Packers defense is in the secondary. They lack playmakers in the secondary, and a good passing team can threaten the Packers in any situation.
The Detroit Lions have found a cornerstone to build their defense around. Defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh has eight sacks and is proving to be a force in the middle for the Detroit defense. The Lions will hopefully start building a young, but effective, defense around Suh. If they can do that, then they have a shot at being a playoff contender in the next couple of years.
The Bottom Line:
The Lions are game but the Packers are focused. Aaron Rodgers will take the Detroit defense apart on the way to another Packers victory.
Pick: Green Bay Packers