NFL free betting tips and odds for Sunday night, including Green Bay at Dallas
Detroit and Green Bay share 3-1 records at the top of the NFC North and both put a promising start to the season under the spotlight live on Sky on Sunday night.
The Lions are in action first at home to Carolina (1800BST) and were among the big stories of the summer after they made quarterback Matthew Stafford the highest paid player in NFL history.
He has a lot to live up to in front of a very demanding audience at Ford Field but the former Georgia Bulldog, who is in his ninth season in the league, is looking worthy of that contract which will pay him $135m over five years.
A player who has thrown a double-figure tally of interceptions already in seven of his campaigns has just one so far and is on a streak of 138 passes without a pick.
“We are just executing at a higher level,” he said in a recent interview as the penny seems to have finally dropped – the definition of a good performance does not necessarily mean throwing for 400 yards and four touchdowns.
A solid example came as recently as last week with a 14-7 success on the road over a very tough Minnesota defense as Stafford and the Detroit offense made just enough plays to go with some mistake-free football.
He possesses one of the best arms in the NFL but has not had a 300-yard game so far in 2017 though he would happily grind away gradually if it means leading his team on a deep play-off run come the early part of next year.
His efforts then and a more consistent defense have suddenly made this team one of the most rounded Detroit has had for more years than the fans would care to remember.
They can still leaks points against the better outfits but make up for that with a momentum-changing turnover or two and I like their chances of moving to 4-1 against the Panthers.
The latter have endured a turbulent week as quarterback Cam Newton was eventually forced into a grovelling apology after patronising remarks he made to a female journalist in a post-game interview.
His ill-judged nonsense overshadowed what was a pretty impressive 33-30 triumph at New England as Newton put together a late drive to set up Graham Gano for the vital field goal as time expired.
I just wonder whether Carolina were slightly flattered as the Patriots put up one of their worst defensive displays in their recent history as Newton continually played pitch-and-catch with a host of wide open receivers.
I doubt an aggressive, opportunistic Detroit defense will be quite so generous and the hosts can push on further with the only blemish on their record so far a hugely unfortunate last-gasp defeat at the hands of Atlanta.
The Packers hit our screens at 2125BST in what should be another fascinating showdown against the Dallas Cowboys in Texas.
The pair met twice last season with Dallas winning 30-16 in week six before Green Bay gained their revenge in a thrilling 34-31 encounter in the Divisional round of the play-offs.
I have a good feeling about the visitors for this one too as quarterback Aaron Rodgers and company will have had 10 days to prepare for the game having clinically swept aside Chicago 35-14 on September 28.
I felt the Bears were in with a fighting chance on that occasion considering Rodgers was playing behind the bare bones of an offensive line but he adapted his game superbly to get the ball out of his hands in a flash and keep the damage done by the Chicago pass-rush to a minimum.
Key linemen David Bakhtiari and Bryan Bulaga have practiced this week and are expected back on duty while running back Ty Montgomery (sporting some cracked ribs), wide receiver Davante Adams (concussion) and disruptive defensive end Mike Daniels are also expected to feature.
Head coach Mike McCarthy has reportedly witnessed some excellent work in the build-up and now feels he can let a few players off the leash, something he has not been able to do so far due to that catalogue of injuries.
The hosts are still trying to find their feet somewhat and slipped to a surprise 35-30 defeat last week to an improving Los Angeles Rams.
The superstar rookie combo of Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott at quarterback and running back have not been quite so productive in the early stages of their sophomore season in the NFL as teams perhaps start to figure them out.
“We have a got feel for them now,” said Green Bay defensive tackle Kenny Clark as having watched a full year’s worth of film on the pair starts to pay dividends.
A much-praised offensive line has not been quite so good either in comparison to 2016 and there is a very real chance they could drop below .500 on the season, although that is hardly a death knell at this stage for their hopes in a rapidly fluctuating NFC East.
Wide receiver Dez Bryant had a big game against the Rams and I am looking forward in particular to his potential match-up with confident rookie cornerback Kevin King so I will buy into McCarthy’s approach of needing to “push it more” now we are into the second quarter of the season.
Detroit start favourites with Green Bay an underdog but put the two together to make up a TV double on the money line.
Where to watch: Sky Sports Action and Main Event
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Posted at 1020 BST on 07/10/17.