Week 13 NFC North predictions: Can Packers upset the defending champs?

Yardbarker

With the Chicago Bears and Minnesota Vikings on a bye, the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions are the only NFC North teams taking the field in Week 13. The Packers aim to increase their win streak to three games with a victory over the defending champs, while the Lions look to right the ship after a loss. Here are this week’s predictions: 

Kansas City Chiefs (8-3) at Green Bay Packers (5-6): The Packers have won two in a row and three of their last four games, but are they hot enough to beat the defending Super Bowl Champion Chiefs on “Sunday Night Football?” Maybe. 

The Chiefs have already proved to be mortal, so a stunning victory for the Packers isn’t out of the realm of possibility. However, they’ll need QB Jordan Love to keep progressing while eliminating his counterpart, Patrick Mahomes, from beating them with his arm. It’s easier said than done, but possible. 

Kansas City wants to throw the ball, doing so 60.7 percent of the time, the seventh-highest in the NFL. Luckily, the Packers have been fairly solid against the pass, ranked ninth in yards against through the air (205.1). Conversely, if the Packers can protect Love, they’ll have a decent shot at winning. When Love gets rid of the football in 2.5 seconds or less, he’s thrown for 653 yards (80-of-109) with eight touchdowns and zero interceptions, earning the fourth-highest grade among QBs (85.3), per Pro Football Focus

If everything falls perfectly into place, the Packers can walk away winners. However, it’s still not likely. 

PREDICTION: Chiefs, 33-27

Detroit Lions (8-3) at New Orleans Saints (5-6): The Lions have gone 2-1 since their bye week, but shaky performances recently have many questioning their long-term outlook. Heading into Week 12, the Lions are only a four-point favorite over the Saints on the road, per oddschecker, showing the doubts are spreading. 

An inability to protect or take away the football has soured the view of the Lions, and for good reason. After committing only seven turnovers through Week 7, the Lions have 10 turnovers in their last four games. Meanwhile, only the New England Patriots (11), Los Angeles Rams (9), Tennessee Titans (8) and Carolina Panthers (7) have fewer takeaways than the Lions (12). 

Lions head coach Dan Campbell called the turnover ratio a “major issue.” 

“We can talk about all these other things, but until we clean that up, the other parts of this are a little bit irrelevant,” Campbell said, via Brad Galli of WXYZ Detroit. “Honestly, they’re not the big issues. We need to take care of the football.” 

The Saints are ranked third in total takeaways (20), but five came in Week 9 against the Chicago Bears, who have the fourth-most turnovers in the NFL (21). Furthermore, they’ve dropped two straight to the Vikings and Atlanta Falcons, losing the turnover battle 4-2. 

PREDICTION: Lions, 28-15 

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