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Packers vs. Lions Thansgiving Day NFL Pick

11/24/11

Good Thanksgiving Day games in the NFL have been few and far in between over the years. This year, we get a treat. 2 of the 3 games feature teams likely to be playoff bound and the other game, Dallas/Miami features a hot Dolphins team heading into Dallas. Here we'll take a look at the Packers vs. Lions. Green Bay is a -6 point  road favorite with a total of 55 at 5 Dimes Sportsbook.

These two teams are very similar. They are both at the top of the charts offensively with the Packers #1 in points scored and the Lions #3. They are both lower middle of the pack in defensively in points allowed. They both win, by simply outscoring opponents. There's no Steel Curtain or 85 Bears defense to be found among these two teams!

The Packers are obviously the talk of the league with an unblemished record. As every week goes by the talk of an undefeated season increases. Aaron Rodgers is having the best year of his career and that says something, considering they won the Super Bowl last year. No one has been able to stop this offense which has scored 30+ in 7 of their 10 wins this year. It would seem unlikely not to expect 30+ in this one from the Pack.

The Lions were once the talk of the NFL as well, off to a 6-0 start with Matthew Stafford leading the way but then they hit some speed bumps, going 2-3 since then with the wins coming against the Broncos and Panthers and the losses coming to "good" teams, the 49ers, Bears and Falcons. You get the feeling with the Lions that they aren't quite ready for prime time. They're good. They are on the rise and will likely be a team to contend with in years to come. But not quite yet on the same level as the elite teams in the NFL.

The yards per point numbers tell us what we already know, that the Packers are the better team. Their ypp number on offense is 11.3. Their number defensively is 18 which tells us their defense is a little better than the traditional stats would lead on. The Lions are a 12.4 on offense, very good, and a mediocre 15 on defense. Using these numbers to make a line, the Packers would be a 5 point favorite on a neutral field. Throw in a couple for home field for the Lions and the ypp line is Green Bay by 3.

Likewise, our NFL model predicts a 34-31 Green Bay win.

The Packers are the better team and likely headed to the NFC Title game and perhaps beyond. The Lions are still a year or two away. However, it looks like there's enough room here getting +6 to back the Lions. The Packers defense just gave up 26 points to one of the worst offensive teams in the league, Tampa Bay. Two weeks prior they gave up 38 to San Diego and the week before that 27 to the Vikings. The Lions offense is better than all 3 of those teams. The Lions will get their points Thursday.

A straight up win for the Lions wouldn't be a total shock and may actually be a good thing for the Packers as well to get that undefeated hoopla out of the way. It can only lead to distractions. We'll take a shot with the Lions here. Lions +6

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