Detroit Lions (9-4) at New York Giants (9-4)
At first glance, these teams appear very similar. Both teams are 9-4, but both teams have also won a lot of close games. In fact, between the two teams, 16 of their 18 wins have come by 7 points or fewer. Detroit beat New Orleans by 15, while the Giants won by 14 in Cleveland, and aside from that all their other wins have come by a touchdown or less. The big difference between these two teams: Detroit has a +4 turnover margin, while the Giants have done this despite a -5 turnover margin.
Why does that matter? Well, turnover margins are very inconsistent on a week-to-week basis so I tend to value teams that consistently move the chains above teams that consistently win the turnover battle. The Giants rank 8th in first down rate, while the Lions rank 19th. However, we’ve lost all line value with the Giants following their home victory over the Cowboys last week. This line has shifted from 3.5 to 4.5 in the past week. Considering about 3 in 10 games are decided by 4 points or fewer, this line is pretty high. The Giants are the significantly better team here, but this is a no confidence pick at 4.5.
New York Giants 23 Detroit Lions 17
Pick against the spread: NY Giants -4.5