The Week 3 edition of Sunday Night Football brings us a crossover game as the AFC’s New England Patriots head to the Motor City to do battle with the NFC’s Detroit Lions. Both of these teams were expected to be contenders in their respective divisions this season, and though it is early – the returns on new Lions coach Matt Patricia are not convincing.
Detroit has limped out to an 0-2 record, and while the Patriots too have looked a little insecure this year, this is going to be a huge test for Detroit’s squad and new coach as he prepares to take on his mentor Bill Belichick of the Pats.
Much of the past week in New England was focused on their acquisition of Josh Gordon from Cleveland. The much-maligned receiver has tons of talent, but rehabilitating him seems like it won’t be an easy task. New England’s offense however hasn’t been the issue, it’s been their defense in the post-Matt Patricia era. We’ll see how the Pats rebound this week against a Detroit attack that can air it out.
Regardless of who is playing in the Sunday nighter, let’s all be honest – we’re watching. And though this week isn’t a traditional rivalry affair, the Belichick/Patricia angle sure will be fun to watch. Can they take advantage of each other’s perceived weaknesses? Read on below for some detailed game analysis and a betting prediction for Lions/Patriots.
Patriots vs. Lions Betting Odds:
New England Patriots -7 (+100)
@ Detroit Lions +7 (-120)
Over 54 (-110)
Under 54 (-110)
Patriots vs. Lions Pick:
The Patriots should be able to assert their will on the Detroit defense and move the chains with regularity. Josh Gordon is expected to play, but even if he doesn’t – he’d be slated for a touch matchup anyway against Darius Slay. New England has many other weapons and it really does not matter who Tom Brady decides to throw to because the Lions’ secondary and linebackers are awful in pass coverage. There will be holes, and look for Brady to do a very good job of hitting his targets. On the ground, the Lions looked porous last week as backup runner Matt Breida ran all over them in San Francisco. For the Pats, we never know who the running back will be on any given day – but regardless of who is holding this pigskin, look for the Pats’ backs to control the game and pickup positive yardage on most carries.
The Lions’ offense as a result will always need to be playing catch-up, and look for that to be a theme this season for Matt Stafford and his teammates. The only bad thing with that mantra is the fact that Detroit has been woeful in the red zone this season, and have really struggled to close out drives effectively. If they’re content to just punch in field goals, it’s not going to be enough to beat Brady and the Pats. And while New England does have some injuries on the defensive line and in the secondary, it remains to be seen if Detroit has the talent right now to exploit it. Their offense will very likely have to do a ton of compensating for their porous defense.
This would be a huge statement win for Matt Patricia and this new era of Lions football, but I am just not sure they have the pieces on either side of the ball to get the job done. Belichick can outcoach his former protegee, and with how brutal the Lions’ defense is right now, look for a talented New England attack to score when they want on Sunday evening. The Pats might be without some key pieces, so I’d advise you to check the injury report – but expect a motivated New England squad to come into Detroit with a very workmanlike approach, en route to a convincing victory.
PICK = Patriots -7 (-120)