With the Bears coming through last night with a big cover against the Packers, we’ll look to close out a successful week one by value hunting on the early game of the MNF double-header.
For that encounter, we’ll head to the Motor City where the new-look Lions will take on an improved Jets squad. Much of the early discussion surrounding this match has been centred on the fact that the Jets will go with young rookie Sam Darnold starting at quarterback. The former USC Trojan was drafted in the first round last spring, and though he is still very young – he is certainly talented.
The Lions will now be coached by Matt Patricia and with some upgrades on defense and running back, Detroit can once again believe in a post-season appearance. Though their team seems strong on paper, the NFC North division is among the best in football. If the Lions are to show the league that they’re legitimate contenders – beating the Jets on Monday Night Football in convincing fashion is a must. Read on below for full game details and a match breakdown, as we look to finish off Week 1 on a high note.
Jets vs. Lions Betting Odds:
New York Jets +7 (-115)
@ Detroit Lions -7 (-105)
Over 44.5 (-110)
Under 44.5 (-110)
Jets vs. Lions Pick:
Sam Darnold getting the start was surprising but not totally unexpected given how talented he is. Though he’s one of the youngest starting QB’s ever – Darnold is poised to turn this Jets franchise around, and I think we will begin to see signs of this starting prime time on Monday Night Football.
The Lions aren’t the best defensive side, despite some adjustments in the off-season. New head coach Matt Patricia was the defensive coordinator out in New England, and it’s not as if the Patriots ever boasted elite defenses. Expect Detroit to generate some pressure from their defensive line, but their linebackers and secondary cannot cover in space. That’s a huge liability for the Lions, and if Darnold plays to his ability and can shake off some of the nerves – he could be able to find some of his targets for big strikes.
Look for the Jets to relieve the pressure off of Darnold by establishing a run game and building his confidence with feeding Bilal Powell and Isaiah Crowell. That duo should be able to move the chains, and should also be effective in screen-pass situations. When Darnold does take chances, look for his connection to Robby Anderson to be particularly effective against a porous Lions’ secondary.
By far the most-improved unit in this game will be that of New York’s defense. They’ve made solid tweaks and Todd Bowles has them performing at a higher level. The Jets have improved at the linebacker position, and where they’re most effective is at stuffing the run and stifling the aerial attack. The Lions have a lot of running backs, but none which truly move the needle. In the Jets’ secondary they went out and added Trumaine Johnson to pair with Morris Claiborne which should give them the ability to really limit the passing game from Matt Stafford.
Ultimately, this spread is too high and I think the Jets are going to be better than people think this season. Though both teams went out and made changes in the off-season, only the Jets truly addressed areas of need. Sam Darnold is ready for the big stage, and playing the Lions really shouldn’t scare him. It’s a great way to begin a career, and I think Darnold comes through at a big underdog price.
PICK = Jets +7 (-115)