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The fourth week of the regular season begins with a Thursday Night Football thriller between divisional rivals. The Detroit Lions (2-1) go on the road to take on the Green Bay Packers (2-1) in a game that will have serious NFC North Divisional title implications.
The Minnesota Vikings (0-3) are off to a terrible start as the reigning NFC North champions and the Chicago Bears (0-3) might easily be the team in the NFL. Through this early portion of the season, either the Lions or the Packers are going to be the winners of the division at the end of the season.
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See also how we think on the NFC North battle will shape out with this TNF thriller.
The Lions have not only been the joke of the NFC North but the entire NFL for many seasons. What makes the Lions different within the past two seasons is their mentality and playstyle. A lot of shows on the offensive side of the ball where Detroit ranks 12th in points per game (24 points) and eighth in total yards per game (381.3). Quarterback Jared Goff and wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown have developed a solid chemistry in a short amount of time. With veteran running back David Montgomery out, it will leave more touches for rookie running back Jahmyr Gibbs, who is a dynamic weapon.
The Packers' defense, when healthy, is reliable. Their secondary is filled with efficient man-coverage players. They have enough depth and talent to cover St. Brown, wide receiver Josh Reynolds, and rookie tight end Sam La Porta. Green Bay ranks 13th in the league in points allowed per game (20.7) and 10th in passing yards allowed per game (199.7). The Lions, however, will be the best offense that the Packers will face four weeks into the regular season.
Life is completely different for the Packers without long-time quarterback Aaron Rodgers and some of his receivers. Like Rodgers under Brett Farve, fourth-year quarterback Jordan Love has learned a lot under his predecessor.
Through three games, Love has led the Packers' offense to becoming the eighth-ranked scoring offense in the league (26.7 points per game). He accomplished this with only one game with running back Aaron Jones in the backfield and number one wide receiver Christian Watson to throw to. Both Jones and Watson are expected to play.
The Lions' defense has played against incredibly stacked offenses in the Kansas City Chiefs and the Seattle Seahawks. While they are currently in the middle of the pack in the NFL, the Lions have young, reliable playmakers at each position group. One player who looks to dominate in this game is second-year defensive end Aidan Hutchinson, who has accounted for four quarterback hits, two sacks, and three pass breakups.
Watson had a strong rookie season last year by catching 41 receptions for 611 yards and seven touchdowns. He will be relied on to help ease the transition of Love as the starting quarterback after many years of Rodgers as the starter. This game will be Watson's first game this season after suffering a hamstring injury before the start of the season.
Through three games this season, Love has thrown for seven touchdowns. He has thrown three touchdowns in road wins at Chicago and at Atlanta. His lone where he suffered by throwing one touchdown at home against the Saints' elite secondary. The Lions have questions at the secondary due to a lack of youth and injuries.
This bet is a difficult one to make. The offensive line for the Packers has allowed Love to be sacked three times this season. Hutchinson has accounted for two sacks and is itching to have a big game against a bitter NFC North rival team. The offensive line hasn't faced an electrifying pass rusher like Hutchinson yet this season.
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Michael Hanich is a sports journalist/analyst with a wide variety of experience in the newspaper and digital field. He has a love for all sports. The leagues that he covers are College Football, the NFL, the NBA, the NHL, College Basketball (men’s and women’s), the MLB, Lacrosse, Volleyball, and the WNBA.More info on Michael Hanich
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