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Week Four Crystal Ball - Thursday: NFC North Leaders Meet
Round One of Goff vs. Love
My friends, when the calendar turns to Thursday, I always think of two things: Jeff Bezos and the National Football League. In that order.
This evening’s matchup on Amazon Prime features the two 2-1 teams tied for the early-season NFC North lead: the Lions and Packers. Green Bay hosts tonight’s event with Al Michaels and Kirk Herbstreit in the booth.1
Lions-Packers is actually the NFL’s longest continuous rivalry with the teams meeting twice annually without cessation since 1932, eight years before THE CHIEF arrived on Planet Earth.2 The two franchises haven’t reached the playoffs in the same season since 2016 but, based on the first three weeks of action, this could be a big year for both.
Last year, Detroit bounced Green Bay from postseason contention in the season’s final game as Jamaal Williams rushed for two touchdowns and the Lions defense stifled Aaron Rodgers. It was the quarterback’s last game as a Packer in a devastating defeat at Lambeau Field.
Jordan Love has stepped into Rodgers’ shoes in Titletown and done a nice job thus far in leading the team to two wins, including a crazy comeback at Atlanta last week. He’s led the team to victory by using his legs and improvising, kind of like the guy before Rodgers, Brett Favre.
Interestingly, Love is doing things far differently than Lions QB Jared Goff. The Detroit QB leads the NFL in downfield completion percentage and yards per passing attempt while Love is 30th and 29th in those categories, respectively.3 Whatever their methods, it feels like these two gentlemen are going to be battling head-to-head for years to come.4
My Week Three record was 10-6 (.625), dropping the season mark to 31-17 (.646) and, tonight, I’m going with Dee-troit. It feels like they’re in a good groove and they seem to be the more complete of the two teams. And I’m also betting they’ll be able to make Love uncomfortable in the pocket. Call it 23-20, Lions.
Thanks, all, and God bless!
The 78-year-old Michaels runs through partners like Kombucha through THE GURU’s digestive system with 38 men and women having served with the venerable announcer.
The lone exception: when the teams played just once in the strike-shortened 1982 season, a 30-10 Dee-troit win with Billy Sims rushing for 109 yards and Easy Eddie Murray drilling a trio of chip-shot field goals. The Lions were quarterbacked by Gary Danielson, the rare football announcer who has not worked alongside Michaels.
Hat tip to NFL Network for the data.
The Lions haven’t had a winning decade against their Wisconsin rivals since the 1980s but the 2020s are shaping up to be a true battle for division supremacy with the teams knotted at three wins apiece.