The Detroit Lions are headed to Lambeau Field to take on the Green Bay Packers in Week 18 in a battle between two 8-8 teams with playoff aspirations. The good folks over at DraftKings Sportsbook have set the opening betting line and they have the Lions as 4.5-point underdogs.
The playoff scenarios are fairly straightforward. If the Packers beat the Lions, they will secure the seventh seed in the NFC and will be in the postseason. The Lions need a bit of help, because not only do they need to beat the Packers, but they need the Los Angeles Rams to beat or tie the Seattle Seahawks, to secure their spot.
But the Packers being at home and with a more direct path to the playoffs isn’t enough to open with this type of line and Vegas is surely betting on some magic from Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The Packers' offense has found some life of late, and they are on a four-game win streak, including most recently beating the Vikings 41-17.
Meanwhile, the Lions responded from their worst loss of the season in a massive way, knocking around the Chicago Bears on their way to a 41-10 victory. But the loss to the Panthers on a cold Carolina field—one that has the NFLPA filing a complaint about—is surely sitting fresh in the minds of the betting line setters, as Lambeau can have some difficult weather conditions in January.
For the Lions let tackle Taylor Decker, he welcomes the situation.
“I hope it gets flexed to Sunday night,” Decker said. “I really hope it does because that is a historic stadium, historic franchise, in the division—a divisional opponent. I mean, what else could you want? [...] You want the challenge. You want all eyes on you when you’re going to rise up and try to beat that challenge.”
On paper, the Packers appear to have several advantages: They’re at home, they’re in a win-and-in playoff scenario, the reigning MVP is making noise with their offense, and the Lions' last road game was a disaster. But standing in their way is a Lions team that is establishing an identity of hard-nosed football and is 7-2 over their last nine games, including a win over the Packers in Week 9.
Buckle up, this is going to be a fun week.