Nolan Bianchi, John Niyo, Justin Rogers and Bob Wojnowski of The Detroit News offer predictions for Sunday’s Lions-Packers game at Ford Field in Detroit (1 p.m., Fox/97.1).
▶ Nolan Bianchi: The Lions swear they’re close, and while they may not be wrong about that, it’s important to remember that being close typically doesn’t have much to do with winning. But this week, what the heck? The Packers haven’t been close, are nearing Lions-levels of dysfunction this season and have all the pressure in the world to figure things out. The Lions, meanwhile, have officially become a team with nothing to lose, and under those circumstances — plus getting D’Andre Swift back in a more-involved capacity — they have a shot to win this game. Pick: Lions, 24-23
▶ John Niyo: The Packers stood pat at the trade deadline, while the Lions were sellers again. We know what that means in Detroit, but it’s hard to say what it means for Aaron Rodgers & Co., as they try to snap a four-game losing streak and get back in the playoff chase. An angry Rodgers with something to prove usually doesn’t bode well for the Lions, but he doesn’t have the offensive line he’s used to, nor the trust in his receivers he needs. So, the Lions do have a chance here, assuming D’Andre Swift is closer to 100% and ready for 15-20 touches in this one. Pick: Lions, 28-24
▶ Justin Rogers: The Lions’ offense showed some renewed life last week, but after trading T.J. Hockenson and facing the prospect of being without receiver Josh Reynolds (back), it’s going to be tough to maintain that momentum. Defensively, the Lions regressed back to looking like the league’s worst unit, getting destroyed by the Dolphins’ speed. Despite the Packers’ struggles on offense this season with an overhauled receiving corps, this defense is bad enough to quickly cure any issues. Pick: Packers 27, Lions 23
▶ Bob Wojnowski: The 3-5 Packers are extremely vulnerable with four straight losses, a weak receiving corps and a fading Aaron Rodgers. Oops, did I call him fading? He sure looks that way, although he’s been resuscitated by the Lions before. It’ll be interesting to see if anything changes in the Lions’ secondary after the firing of assistant Aubrey Pleasant. It’ll be more interesting to see if D’Andre Swift is healthy enough to make a bigger impact. This might come down to the running games, and Green Bay has a great dual-threat back in Aaron Jones. Dan Campbell’s regime is reeling, but beating the Packers — even far-from-vintage Packers — would be a huge boost. In fact, I’d pick the Lions to win if you could guarantee Rodgers is legitimately toast. I need a bit more convincing. Pick: Packers, 27-20