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Game of the Week: Packers at Lions
A good ol' battle of Black-and-Blue foes always serves for must-see sports theater, and this week's matchup of the Packers traveling to Motown to take on the Lions is no exception. With both Green Bay and Detroit fighting for a postseason berth, the clash between northern adversaries is our WhatIfSports.com Game of the Week.
Not that there is ever a "good time" to play the Packers, per say, but facing the Cheeseheads coming off their bye week would not be a deemed a desirable occasion. One of the more battered squads in the NFL (Green Bay even lost tackle Bryan Bulaga for the season during the hiatus), the break provided a much-need respite for the reigning NFC North champs. However, as the Green and Yellow had won their past four contests by an average margin of almost two touchdowns, perhaps the bye was the only thing able to stop the high-octane offense of Aaron Rodgers and company.
And "high-octane" could not be more apropos, as the Packers have scored at least 27 points in five of their last six ballgames. Rodgers is the piston that makes this engine roar, as his surgeon-like precision has kept the offense running despite a plethora of injuries to Greg Jennings, Cedric Benson, Jordy Nelson and multiple pieces on the offensive line. After a somewhat shaky start in September (which can be attributed to the cornerback-mugging environment facilitated by the replacement referees), Rodgers has been lights-out, tossing 22 touchdowns in his last six games. Drew Brees, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning certainly possess sagacious understandings of their offensive schemes, Matt Ryan is posting video-game like numbers for Atlanta and Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III have excelled in their inaugural seasons, but it's hard to argue that Rodgers is not the paramount of the position in 2012.
The Lions flaunt a fairly successful signal caller as well in Matthew Stafford. Coming off a quantum-leap campaign in 2011 (5,038 yards, 41 touchdowns), the former No. 1 pick has taken a slight step back this year. Though he's still averaging over 300 yards per game (his 302.4 average is good for fourth-best in the NFL), Stafford owns a mediocre 11-8 touchdown-to-interception ratio through nine outings. If Detroit holds playoff aspirations with their 4-5 record, Stafford will need to be the catalyst for an offense averaging a middle-of-the-pack 24 points per contest.
Not that the passing game is the only Motor City component in need of a tune up. The Detroit secondary has surrendered 14 scores with just five interceptions. The front seven hasn't been much better, allowing 4.4 yards per carry, third-highest in the NFC. Together, this duo deficiency has correlated to a concession of 24.7 points per game, third-most in the conference. Given the unit is littered with stars in Ndamukong Suh, Cliff Avril, Stephen Tulloch and Kyle Vanden Boesch, the Lions have been more bark than bite.
So who emerges victories in this NFC North slugfest? According to the award-winning WhatIfSports.com simulation engine, the Packers come out on top 54.3 percent of the time by an average margin of 27-25. For the rest of this week's scores, check below:
Please note: The Bears-49ers and Bengals-Chiefs games were resimulated on 11/15 to account for injuries and roster updates.
NFL Week 11
|@ Houston Texans||91.8||29||Simulate Game|
|@ New England Patriots||71.8||27||Simulate Game|
|@ Atlanta Falcons||68.9||24||Simulate Game|
|@ Washington Redskins||62.8||19||Simulate Game|
|San Diego Chargers||39.7||23||Boxscore|
|@ Denver Broncos||60.3||27||Simulate Game|
|@ Dallas Cowboys||59.1||27||Simulate Game|
|@ San Francisco 49ers||56.2||20||Simulate Game|
|New York Jets||46.7||21||Boxscore|
|@ St. Louis Rams||53.3||22||Simulate Game|
|@ Buffalo Bills||46.3||21||Simulate Game|
|Green Bay Packers||54.3||27||Boxscore|
|@ Detroit Lions||45.7||25||Simulate Game|
|@ Pittsburgh Steelers||35.1||19||Simulate Game|
|@ Kansas City Chiefs||33.8||21||Simulate Game|
|New Orleans Saints||68.9||33||Boxscore|
|@ Oakland Raiders||31.1||26||Simulate Game|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||71.2||26||Boxscore|
|@ Carolina Panthers||28.8||19||Simulate Game|
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