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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey  

Sortable Player Projections | Game Predictions Summary | Projections by Team

GB at DET (thu) * BUF at NYJ DEN at SD PIT at KC
MIA at DAL (thu) * CAR at IND HOU at JAC * TB at TEN
SF at BAL (thu) * CHI at OAK * MIN at ATL * WAS at SEA
* UPDATED ARI at STL * CLE at CIN * NE at PHI * NYG at NO (mon)

Prediction: GB 34, DET 24

Players to Watch: Kevin Smith

This is the game of the week and it happens first thing on Thursday. This is a reason to have Thanksgiving at your house with your TV and your remote. The 10-0 Packers enter what is likely their toughest remaining game to face the 7-3 Lions who are 3-2 at home. This should end up to be a shootout and while the Lions likely lose yet another Thanksgiving game, this one is well worth watching.

Green Bay Packers
Homefield: Lambeau Field
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 NO 42-34 10 MIN 45-7
2 @CAR 30-23 11 TB 35-26
3 @CHI 27-17 12 @DET -
4 DEN 49-23 13 @NYG -
5 @ATL 25-14 14 OAK -
6 STL 24-3 15 @KC -
7 @MIN 33-27 16 CHI -
8 Bye - 17 DET -
9 @SD 45-38      
Packers Report | Statistics | Roster
GREEN BAY at DET Rush Catch Pass
QB Aaron Rodgers - - 310,4
RB Ryan Grant 40 20 -
TE Jermichael Finley - 50,1 -
WR Greg Jennings - 60,1 -
WR Jordy Nelson - 80,1 -
WR Donald Driver - 20 -
WR James Jones - 50,1 -
PK Mason Crosby 2 FG 4 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Packers are showing the strain of winning with three of the last four games being much closer than anticipated though always with the Packers winning. The first six weeks were all about 10+ point wins and now the Packers hit the road where the defense has been less than stellar in allowing 27 and 38 points in recent games. That's all great in fantasy land since the rising tide lifts all the fantasy players. A win here almost clinches the division with five more games to play and makes resting Packers later in the year a realistic fear.

QUARTERBACK: He might as well change his middle name to Effing.

Aaron Rodgers has already passed for 31 touchdowns and had eight games at or over 300 yards. For the last five weeks, the question is whether he will throw for three or four touchdowns. Put him down for around 300 yards and three scores pretty much every week. The Lions have been great against the pass but faced almost no elite quarterbacks other than perhaps Tony Romo (331 yards, 3 TDs). Big national game that could be a shootout? Should be a big, big game.

RUNNING BACKS: James Starks suffered both knee and ankle injuries and is going to be a game time decision so I am counting him out of the projections as he would not be 100% healthy anyway and has been a very minor factor in most games. That would leave Ryan Grant promoted up and yet still not worthy of a fantasy start. The Lions have only allowed one runner to score in Detroit and Frank Gore is not a Packer.

WIDE RECEIVERS: This unit has already divided up 23 touchdowns and seven games over 100 yards. Greg Jennings has a sore knee that has limited him in practice and affected him last week when he had a season worst two catches for six yards. But he scored in five of the previous six games and was on a string of high yardage games until recently. Jordy Nelson has been the star as of late with five touchdowns over the last three games and two of those topping 100 yards. He's not getting any more targets than Jennings, he is just doing more with them and receiving lesser coverage. Jennings is expected to be fine this week.

The Lions rank high against the position but consider some of who they played - TB, KC, MIN, CHI (2), SF, DEN. This is the #1 QB and WR crew showing up - start all the normal players and look for nice games from all.

TIGHT ENDS: Jermichael Finley has not been much for yardage but has five touchdowns on the season with each one coming in a road game. This should be yet another chance to extend that trend since the Lions have not faced many decent tight ends let alone tried to cover all the top wideouts at the same time.

Gaining Fantasy Points GB 1 25 1 11 7 2
Preventing Fantasy Points DET 8 9 6 7 30 23

Detroit Lions
Homefield: Ford Field
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @TB 27-20 10 @CHI 13-37
2 KC 48-3 11 CAR 49-35
3 @MIN 26-23 12 GB -
4 @DAL 34-30 13 @NO -
5 CHI 24-13 14 MIN -
6 SF 19-25 15 @OAK -
7 ATL 16-23 16 SD -
8 @DEN 45-10 17 @GB -
9 Bye -      
Lions Report | Statistics | Roster
DETROIT vs GB Rush Catch Pass
QB Matthew Stafford - - 330,3
RB Kevin Smith 60 40 -
TE Brandon Pettigrew - 30,1 -
WR Calvin Johnson - 110,1 -
WR Titus Young - 70,1 -
WR Nate Burleson - 60 -
PK Jason Hanson 1 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Lions won their shootout with the Panthers but were slapped down by the Bears in Chicago in the previous matchup. As improved as the Lions have been this year the reality is that they have only beaten one team with a winning record and Chicago just gave them a 37-13 "back at ya" two weeks ago in the rematch. Facing the undefeated Packers seems a little less even now. Having to work to beat the Panthers makes more sense.

QUARTERBACK: Matthew Stafford has scored in every game this year and already has 25 touchdowns and six games at or over 300 yards. He comes off a five touchdown affair over the Panthers and faces a Packers secondary that has allowed as many as four touchdowns to an opponent. The newfound rushing game of last week bears some work this week and that could depress passing stats a little but in the end this should be a shootout and a very good reason to start Stafford this week.

RUNNING BACKS: What a comeback. The Lions released Kevin Smith last February in part because of his brief but consistent history with knee and shoulder injuries. They brought him back two weeks ago and then let him loose in the Panthers game against one of the worst rush defenses in the league. Smith ended up leading the NFL for the week with 140 yards and two scores on 16 carries and a third touchdown on his four receptions for 61 yards. Needless to say, that shoves Maurice Morris rudely down the depth chart and muddies what might happen if Jahvid Best returns.

It is notable though - the Panthers on the road are really bad against the run. The Packers have only allowed four rushing scores all year and two of those went to Adrian Peterson. It will be interesting to see what the healthy again Smith will do this week but he should post fantasy relevant stats even if they only use him as a receiver this week.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Calvin Johnson has a sprained ankle and missed practice on Tuesday to rest it but is expected to play with no limitation. The Lions need him big time. This game should end up as a shootout and the Packers secondary gave up three touchdowns to Vincent Jackson in the most recent road game. Michael Jenkins had 111 yards and a score the previous week. Johnson is a strong play and even Titus Young should be involved since he has produced a score in two of the last three games. This should be one of the most productive games of the season for the wideouts here and even Nate Burleson is a marginally worthwhile starter. Three different Buccaneer wideouts scored on them last week and you probably cannot even name three Buccaneer wideouts.

TIGHT ENDS: While Brandon Pettigrew has not produced more than 42 yards in a game for the last six weeks, he has scored three times and Tony Scheffler has scored in each of the last three weeks with even worse yardage. Scheffler has three games with less than 16 yards though and never merits a fantasy start. Pettigrew is more consistent in moderate production but does not score as much as Scheffler. Hard to reply on more than yardage for Pettigrew.

Gaining Fantasy Points DET 5 14 4 4 6 4
Preventing Fantasy Points GB 31 10 31 30 9 5

GB at DET (thu) BUF at NYJ DEN at SD PIT at KC
MIA at DAL (thu) CAR at IND HOU at JAC TB at TEN
SF at BAL (thu) CHI at OAK MIN at ATL WAS at SEA
  ARI at STL CLE at CIN NE at PHI NYG at NO (mon)

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