The Lions (3-4 SU, 3-4 ATS) dropped their third straight game following a 3-1 start in a 20-15 home defeat to the Steelers as three-point underdogs. Detroit failed to reach the end zone as kicker Matt Prater knocked down five field goals, while the Lions couldn’t convert a fourth and goal at the one-yard line down 13-12. Four plays later, Ben Roethlisberger hooked up with rookie standout Juju Smith-Schuster on a 97-yard touchdown strike to give the Steelers a 20-12 lead which held up.
Amazingly, the Lions didn’t score a touchdown in spite of quarterback Matthew Stafford’s 423-yard passing effort. Stafford rebounded from a three-interception performance in a Week 6 setback at New Orleans, while getting intercepted only once in five home games. Marvin Jones, Jr. hauled in six catches for 128 yards, but the Lions’ rushing game didn’t get going by racking up 71 yards on 22 carries. Defensively, Detroit did as much as it could against a talented Pittsburgh offense by limiting the Steelers to 392 yards, which included the dreaded 97-yard touchdown to put the game out of reach.
The Packers (4-3 SU, 3-4 ATS) are back from the bye week following a Week 7 home loss to the Saints. Green Bay began life without star quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who suffered a collarbone injury in a Week 6 loss at Minnesota that has him sidelined indefinitely. Brett Hundley made his first start against New Orleans, but there was an obvious drop-off as the former UCLA quarterback threw for only 87 yards and was intercepted once.
Green Bay held a 14-7 lead following a Hundley 14-yard touchdown run, but the Saints outscored the Packers the rest of the way, 19-3 as New Orleans accumulated 485 yards. Running back Aaron Jones broke the 100-yard mark for the second time in three weeks by compiling 131 yards on 17 carries to go along with a touchdown, but the Packers have scored 27 points in the last two games since consecutive 35-point performances in Weeks 4 and 5.
For only the second time this season, the Lions will be laying points. Detroit fell short in its first favorite opportunity in a 27-24 home setback to Carolina in Week 5 as two-point chalk. Jim Caldwell’s team was favored only once away from Ford Field last season, dropping a 17-14 decision at Chicago as three-point favorites. The last time Detroit won when laying points on the highway came at Chicago in the season finale of 2016, while owning a 6-7 ATS record as a favorite since the start of 2015.
Actually, it is a problem when Rodgers isn’t in the lineup for the Packers. In 2013 when Rodgers injured his left shoulder in a Week 9 loss to the Bears, Green Bay went on to 2-4-1 record the next seven games, including home losses to the Eagles and Steelers, to go along with a tie against Minnesota. In those defeats to Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, the Packers were listed as a home underdog. Green Bay actually won as a home ‘dog against Seattle last season, but the Packers last won in this role without Rodgers in the lineup coming in the 2011 season finale – against the Lions.
The Lions haven’t had much luck at Lambeau Field over the years by losing 25 of the last 26 visits to Wisconsin since a December victory in 1991 to help them win the NFC Central. The only time Detroit has won in the last quarter-century at Green Bay came in 2015 as a 10 ½-point underdog, 18-16.
Last season, the Packers swept the Lions in a pair of high-scoring affairs won by seven points each. In the first matchup last September, Green Bay built a 31-3 advantage before Detroit roared back by outscoring the Packers, 24-3 the rest of the way. However, the Packers picked up a 34-27 victory as 6 ½-point favorites, paced by four Rodgers touchdown passes. Stafford tried to keep up by tossing three touchdowns, including two to Marvin Jones, who hauled in 205 yards in the loss.
In the final meeting in Detroit in Week 17, the Packers held off the Lions, 31-24 as 3 ½-point favorites, highlighted by another four touchdown passing game by Rodgers. Stafford fell to 3-10 in his career against the Packers in spite of 347 yards passing and two touchdown tosses.
Detroit is making its second appearance on Monday night football this season after winning at New York in Week 2 over the Giants, 24-10 as three-point underdogs. Since 2015, the Lions have split four Monday night games, but have compiled a 3-1 ATS record. Dating back to 2014, the Packers are a perfect 3-0 in Monday action, while playing in its first Monday game this season.