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Preview: Green Bay Packers at Lions

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While the line favors the Green Bay Packers by 6 points over the Lions, which is a very good line for a road team, I don't feel that confident about this game. Maybe my opinion is based too much on their game last December. The poor play by the offensive line really sticks in my memory. However, when Matt Flynn is forced to play without having practiced all season and behind a struggling offensive line, that's the formula for failure. Protect Aaron Rodgers better and see what he can do against their pass defense over a full four quarters.

While the Lions have a great defense that forced as many interceptions of Cam Newton (four) as Rodgers has thrown all season, the Panthers did score three touchdowns on offense. Even if the pass protection isn't great, the Packers will have some success. If the offensive line has a solid game, then the offense could score 28 to 30 points. Unfortunately, I expect it'll be a long day for the offensive line. Rodgers will have to work hard to avoid hits and avoid turnovers.

This would be the time for the Packers defense to step up. Matthew Stafford still has a broken right finger (and thrown 7 INTs over his past 2 games) and even worse (for them) is that Calvin Johnson has aggravated his ankle injury on Tuesday. I expect they'll play, but they're not going to be 100%. The Packers pass defense has been shredded for a lot of yards and touchdowns, but they also lead the league with 19 INTs, which has kept their passer rating against to a respectable 79.4. It could be discouraging that Josh Freeman played so well against them last week, but the Packers have been very consistent this season. It doesn't matter who the opponent is, they'll allow a bunch of yards and a touchdown or two, but they'll also grab one or two INTs. I expect Stafford will have a game somewhere in between his disaster in Chicago two weeks ago, and last week's 5 TD performance against the Panthers.

The Packers also have some added advantages among the hidden stats. According to Team Rankings, they've committed far fewer penalties, and according to Football Outsiders, they're much better on special teams. In a close game, those could become the keys to victory.

Packers 30, Lions 27.