Los Angeles Rams (3-2) at Detroit Lions (2-3)
This line at 3 suggests these two teams are equal. I disagree with that. Despite, having a worse record than the Rams, the Lions are the significantly superior team in this matchup. Despite having three wins, the Rams rank dead last in first down percentage differential and have had a worse first down percentage than their opponents in all 5 games thus far. Their 3 wins have come by a combined 15 points, while their 2 losses have come by a combined 39 points. Their -24 point differential is 8th worst in the NFL and they’re legitimately a few plays away from being 1-4 or even 0-5. They have 36 fewer first downs than their opponents and have one of the worst rosters in the entire NFL.
The Rams could get defensive linemen Michael Brockers, Robert Quinn, and William Hayes all back from injury this week, after all three missed last week’s home loss to the Bills. Those three are a huge part of their defense and are game-time decisions at worst after returning to a limited practice on Friday and being listed as questionable. However, even with those three back, this is not a good team, especially with top cornerback Trumaine Johnson missing this game with injury. The Lions, meanwhile, rank 19th in first down percentage differential and get one of their best players back from injury this week, as defensive end Ezekiel Ansah returns for the first time since getting injured week 2.
Outside linebacker DeAndre Levy remains out and defensive tackle Haloti Ngata joins him, but Ansah is arguably their best defensive player and a huge re-addition to a defense that ranks 27th in first down percentage allowed. Their offense has been much better, ranking 5th in first down percentage. The Lions are a much better and much more complete team than the Rams here and should be favored by at least 6. On top of that, the Rams have a London game on deck and teams are understandably 7-19 ATS all-time before playing in London. This is a big wager on the Lions at 3 and still worth a bet even at 3.5.
Detroit Lions 24 Los Angeles Rams 16
Pick against the spread: Detroit -3