DETROIT LIONS (3-4) AT GREEN BAY PACKERS (4-3)
SERIES HISTORY: 174th regular-season meeting. Packers lead series, 98-68-7, and have won both postseason matchups. Packers coach Mike McCarthy is 18-4 against Detroit, including 10-1 at home.
KEYS TO THE GAME: The Lions need to make Brett Hundley beat them. Hundley has four interceptions in 58 pass attempts since taking over for Aaron Rodgers at quarterback, and he completed less than 50 percent of his passes in his only start.
The Packers still have a dangerous group of wide receivers, but the Lions have no reason to fear Green Bay's passing game with Hundley under center. What they need to be mindful of is running back Aaron Jones, who has topped 120 yards rushing in two of the Packers' last three games. Look for the Lions to focus on stopping Jones first, taking their chances with Hundley airing it out.
Green Bay's top three wideouts were held to a combined five catches for 40 yards in their last outing. Detroit ranks just 25th against the pass, though, allowing 254.6 yards per game. If Green Bay stands any chance to win, its passing game needs to go up several notches.
The Lions settled for too many field goals last week (five) and need to find a way to get in the end zone. One way to do that would be forcing the Packers to respect the running game. That means feeding Ameer Abdullah early and often, and trying to loosen up the defense downfield.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH:
--Lions RG T.J. Lang vs. Packers interior DTs. Lang was one of the finest offensive linemen to come through Green Bay in the past 25 years, but he left as an unrestricted free agent in March. Lang and players such as DL Mike Daniels and Kenny Clark know each other inside and out. It will be fascinating to see who wins this individual battle Monday.
--Packers RB Aaron Jones vs. Lions LBs Jarrad Davis and Tahir Whitehead. Whitehead ranks 10th in the NFL since 2016 in tackles (132), while Davis is fourth among rookies with 31. Jones has rushed for at least 125 yards in two of the last three games. Green Bay will undoubtedly ride its rookie sensation, while Davis and Whitehead will do everything they can to make sure Jones doesn't get rolling against the
NFL's seventh-ranked run defense.
PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: Packers FS Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. He was in the Pro Bowl last season. This year, Clinton-Dix has been a colossal disappointment. The fourth-year safety, who is in a contract year, has been the epitome of ordinary with no sacks, one interception and remarkably few impact plays. For the Packers' defense to succeed, they need Clinton-Dix to be much better.
FAST FACTS: Detroit QB Matthew Stafford passed for 423 yards last week, his eighth game with 400 yards. In the past three meetings, he has 952 passing yards (317.3 per game), seven TDs and two interceptions. ... RB Ameer Abdullah has 160 scrimmage yards (80 per game) and a rushing TD in his past two games vs. the NFC North. ... WR Golden Tate has 14 catches for 182 yards and a TD in the past two games. He had six receptions for 77 yards and a TD in the last meeting. ... WR Marvin Jones caught six balls for a team-high 128 yards in Week 8. He aims for his fourth game in a row with at least six receptions. He tallied a career-high 205 receiving yards and scored twice in his last game at Green Bay. ... DE Anthony Zettel has three sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in his past five games. ... Packers rookie RB Aaron Jones rushed for a career-high 131 yards and a TD in Week 7. He leads NFC rookies with three rushing TDs. ... WR Jordy Nelson is tied for the NFC lead with six TD catches. In his past seven home games vs. the NFC North, he has 643 receiving yards and nine TDs. He has scored 11 times in his past eight home games. ... LB Clay Matthews has two sacks and two forced fumbles in his past five home games. He has five sacks in five career home meetings. ... LB Blake Martinez ranks second in the NFC with 63 tackles. He has gone over 10 in three straight game. He recorded a sack in the last meeting.
PREDICTION: Whether the Lions can stop Jones or not, Stafford should be able to outscore Hundley.
OUR PICK: Lions, 27-20.