Detroit Lions at Indianapolis Colts: 2016 Week 1 NFL Pick

Detroit Lions (0-0) at Indianapolis Colts (0-0)

This line is at 3, which suggests these two teams are even. I disagree. The Lions finished last season just 7-9, but won 6 of their final 8 games and it easily could have been 7 if not for the longest game winning Hail Mary in NFL history in their loss to the Packers. Calvin Johnson is gone, but they added Marvin Jones and Anquan Boldin and their offense was great down the stretch last season, after Jim Bob Cooter took over as offensive coordinator mid-season. On defense, they get DeAndre Levy back from injury, after their talented linebacker missed essentially all of 2015. They have a good chance to continue playing well this season and push for a playoff spot.

The Lions’ schedule down the stretch last season was relatively easy (aside from Green Bay), so they’re unlikely to continue winning 3 out of every 4 games, but I don’t think the Colts are a tough opponent, especially with their top-2 defensive players, Vontae Davis and Henry Anderson, missing the start of the season with injury. The Colts get Andrew Luck back, but their passing offense wasn’t the problem last season, as they went 8-8. Their defense took a step back from the season before and they struggled mightily running the ball and protecting the quarterback.

Their running backs and offensive line remain a problem and the defense could take another step back. They lost top linebacker Jerrell Freeman in free agency and have the oldest defense in the league, which looks like one of the worst in the league on paper. They’re going to have a tough time stopping anyone with Henry Anderson and Vontae Davis. I like the Lions’ chances of at least pushing as 3 point underdogs, as 1 of 4 games are decided by 3 points or fewer, and I think they can also win the game outright.

Detroit Lions 27 Indianapolis Colts 23 Upset Pick +140

Pick against the spread: Detroit +3

Confidence: Medium

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