A rout of San Diego puts the Lions in the playoffs, and a New Orleans rout of Atlanta gives Detroit the #5 seed for now. The opening line for the Detroit-Green Bay game was Packers -1.5, but that's already shifted to Detroit -3.5 ... clearly Las Vegas or bettors (or both) see McCarthy resting his starters in a mostly-meaningless game for the Packers. Atlanta plays a late game, so they'll know at kickoff whether or not they have a shot at the #5 seed.
Week 17: at Green Bay, heavy underdog
Tossups are 50%; slight favorites
are up to 3-2 (60%), then favorites up
to 3-1 (75%), then heavy favorites up to 5-1 (86%), then overwhelming
favorites. Slight underdogs are down to 2-3 (40%), then underdogs down
to 1-3 (25%), then heavy underdogs down to 1-5 (14%), then overwhelming
We'll have to wait for next week to find out more ... Massey's new layout makes it really hard to draw any conclusions. Sagarin has the Lions as a slight favorite against either Dallas or the Giants and a 6- to 6.5-point underdog against New Orleans or San Francisco, so that #5 seed is a big deal.
The Playoff Odds report for Week 17:
Mean wins: 10.2, up 0.3
NFC title: 4.6%, up 1.3 points
Super Bowl win: 2.1%, up 0.7 points
Obviously a playoff spot is secured, and that probably is the cause for the increase in NFC and Super Bowl title chances.
The Lions didn't struggle at all last week. It was 24-0 at halftime, and San Diego was never really close. I believe Detroit will have the same focus on the road, even if in front of a hostile crowd and likely in inclement weather. (Weather Underground says otherwise, though.) I'll assume that the Packers don't play Rodgers much, if at all. Detroit will move the ball fairly well, and Flynn won't do nearly as well against a fired-up defense. It won't be easy, but the Lions will lock down the #5 seed. Twenty years ago, they had a similar situation, but it was for the division title and a first-round bye, and it was against the AFC's #1 seed, the Bills. With Kelly, Thomas, and Reed on the sidelines, Buffalo was still able to hold down Barry Sanders and company, but Detroit stole a win in overtime, 17-14, finishing 12-4 (still a franchise record for regular-season wins) and setting the stage for their only playoff win in modern history. There will be no playoff home game, barring some crazy upsets (right, Colts fans?), but still ... Lions, 20-17.
Last week: predicted 31-26, actual 38-10
Current mood: ready for this "playoffs" thing I've heard so much about