Detroit Lions (1-0) at New York Giants (0-1)
Going into the season, I had the Lions as a 6-win team and high on my overrated list. They went 9-7 and made the postseason last year, but won just one game by more than a touchdown, finished 28th in first down rate, and didn’t defeat a single playoff team all season. Many of their games featured 4th quarter comebacks and they could have easily been 7-9 or 6-10 if a few plays had gone differently. In addition, they entered the season without talented left tackle Taylor Decker and starting defensive end Kerry Hyder, leaving them even thinner on both lines.
They opened the season with a 12-point victory at home over the Cardinals, but that was largely because the Cardinals suffered two significant injuries in the game and couldn’t adapt, losing left tackle DJ Humphries and stud feature back David Johnson. The Cardinals jumped out to an early 10-0 lead and led 17-9 in the 3rd quarter before the Lions went on a 26-6 run and even still Arizona won the first down battle 24-19. That game seems to have changed a lot of opinions on them as the line has shifted from 6 in favor of the hometown Giants on the early line last week to 3 this week. That’s the second biggest line movement of the week and it makes the Lions even more overrated.
I don’t love the Giants either, but they are the more talented of these two teams and we’re getting good line value with them after the 3-point line shift. This line suggests these two teams are even, which is not accurate. The Giants had a poor week 1 performance, but that was on the road against a tough Dallas team without top receiver Odell Beckham, who is expected to return against the Lions after getting in limited practices throughout the week. Beckham may not be 100% and the Giants have other offensive problems, but they have a stingy defense and should be able to take care of business against an inferior team at home.
New York Giants 23 Detroit Lions 17
Pick against the spread: NY Giants -3