Thursday Night Preview

September 28, 2023

Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers

© Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports

The “Thursday Night Football” matchup for this week is a battle of NFC North foes. The Detroit Lions (2-1) head to Green Bay to take on the Packers (2-1). Both of these teams have looked solid through the first few games this season, and this matchup provides a test for both sides as they compete for the top spot in the NFC North.

Detroit has evolved into somewhat of a fan favorite amongst the masses. Led by energetic head coach Dan Campbell and former No. 1 overall pick Jared Goff, Detroit is a live team to make the playoffs and win the NFC North this season. They already managed to steal a win on the road against the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs, which showed the potential of this Lions team. After falling short against Seattle, the Lions rallied for a 20-6 thumping of the Atlanta Falcons.

Many thought that Green Bay would take a step back this season, following the departure of Aaron Rodgers. However, young quarterback Jordan Love has impressed through three games, making big throws and leading his team to come-from-behind victories. Green Bay’s lone loss comes against a common foe in the Atlanta Falcons, providing some insight into this matchup. This game will show us a lot about just how good this Packers team may be throughout this season.

Let’s look at this matchup from a betting perspective…

Detroit -2.0 (-110)

What to like about this line…

  • Despite losing to the Seahawks, the Lions have looked like a pretty solid team so far into the year. Goff ranks within the top five of both QBR and overall rating amongst all QBs in the league and has a good supporting cast with Amon-Ra St. Brown, along with spry running back Jahmyr Gibbs. Detroit’s win over Kansas City to open this season shows the Lions are a formidable team capable of taking the next step. While they lost to Seattle, a playoff team from a season ago, they managed to put up 30 points and hang around in that matchup. Now they take on a Packers team that was power-rated similar to Atlanta before the season. Is this a classic Detroit letdown spot? It could be, but this team feels different and has looked different on the field. They play hard for Dan Campbell, nearly made the postseason a year ago, and have big players on both sides of the ball.
  • While Green Bay has been better than expected out of the gate, this will be the biggest task for Jordan Love. The Falcons’ defense was able to hold him down, and his two wins are against the Chicago Bears and the New Orleans Saints, who lost their own QBs midway through the game which stalled offensive momentum. Green Bay has already ruled out tackle David Bakhtiari, guard Elgton Jenkins, linebacker De’Vondre Campbell, and safety Zayne Anderson. The status of wide receiver Christian Watson is also uncertain at this point, along with running back Aaron Jones. Detroit is especially good against the run and are beginning to adjust in the secondary after losing C.J. Gardner Johnson. All in all, this Lions team is more battle-tested and has looked better.

What not to like about this line…

  • From what we have seen to this point, Packers quarterback Jordan Love looks like he could be a legitimate player in this league. He is completing over 50% of his passes for a QBR of 69.2, currently tied for sixth in the league. He is also doing an excellent job of taking care of the football, throwing seven touchdowns to just one interception this season. Most recently, Love managed to steer Green Bay back from an 18-point deficit against the New Orleans Saints last week. Yes, losing Derek Carr certainly took some wind out of the Saints’ sails, but that still does not make up for the fact that Love managed to rally his team for three consecutive scoring drives in the fourth quarter to pull out the victory ultimately. He could be the next great Green Bay quarterback.
  • This is the Detroit Lions, after all. On paper, they are set up very well to win this game even though it is on the road. All offseason, there was plenty of conversation about how this team was ready to evolve and take the next step. So far so good. The opening night win against the Chiefs was solid, but was that more about Kansas City than Detroit? Could that game be taken at a discount, given that it was the first game of the season? Generally, through the first three games, it is still too early to tell just what this team is all about. A win here would go a long way, but that feels far from certain with a Lions organization that consistently shoots themselves in the foot.

Over/Under 46.0 (-110)

What to like about the over…

  • This Detroit Lions offense is capable of running up the score. We’ve already seen the Lions put up 30-plus points once this season against Seattle. Right now, Goff is doing a fantastic job of taking what the defense gives him, limiting mistakes, and finding his dynamic skill position players. Green Bay has also scored 30-plus points already once this season. Jordan Love has shown an ability to steer this offense in the right direction.

What to like about the under…

  • This is already a short week for both teams, on top of the fact this is also a matchup between two division rivals. These two organizations are very familiar with each other, and the under has cashed in the last two head-to-head matchups dating back to last season. Furthermore, Green Bay will be without a couple of linemen and potentially be without Watson and Jones. This is also a primetime matchup for a quarterback in Love who has little experience. Detroit’s defense can get after the QB, making things difficult for the Packers.

Steve Quinne’s Pick: Detroit M/L (+130)

Regardless, this should be an entertaining matchup, but the Detroit Lions are the side here. As impressive as Jordan Love and the Green Bay Packers have looked through three games, this is a tough spot for them on a short week in primetime, despite being at home.

Detroit has been through trials and tribulations as a team, and so far this season look like a squad capable of making some noise in the conference. The opening night win against Kansas City was impressive and demonstrates the Lions ability to get up and lock in for big-time moments. This is another one of those, and the juice is worth the squeeze with the moneyline price since this is the Detroit Lions after all.