2021 NFL picks, score predictions for Week 18

The Indianapolis Star
The Indianapolis Star /
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NFL picks and predictions
NFL picks and predictions – Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images /

Green Bay Packers (13-3) at Detroit Lions (2-13-1)

Sunday, January 9, 1PM ET

On the surface, you’d think the Green Bay Packers were the clear-cut choice here. However, upon further consideration, it’s possible the Detroit Lions come away with the “surprise” win. Why? Because the Packers have absolutely nothing to play for.

With their win on Sunday night, the Packers have locked up the No. 1 seed in the NFC. They’d literally gain nothing from winning this matchup. That’s why, despite Matt Lafleur’s claim, it’s highly unlikely we see much (if any) of Green Bay’s starters when they visit Detroit in Week 18.

That could open the door for the Lions to come up with a hard-to-come-by divisional win. It won’t mean much — in fact, all it would do is cost the Lions valuable positioning for the upcoming 2022 NFL Draft. Still, it would be a nice way to cap off what’s been a rough season for one of the worst teams in the NFC.

Don’t be surprised if we see almost 60 minutes of the Lions’ starters against the Packers’ backups. Although I wouldn’t be surprised if it was still a competitive game, I’m giving the slight edge to Detroit as they wrap up their regular season and look ahead to the 2022 offseason.

Prediction: Lions win 27-23 | Spread: Packers (-3)