Washington Commanders (1-0) at Detroit Lions (0-1)
In my season preview, I thought the Lions could take a step forward this season and would be competitive in most of their games, but I based that on the assumption that they would have better health on the offensive line, which had the potential to be one of the best offensive lines in the league if healthy. However, the Lions are going to be without at least a pair of offensive line starters in this game, right guard Halapoulivaati Vaitai and center Frank Ragnow, the latter of whom is their best offensive lineman and arguably the best player in the league at his position.
They’re also without Vaitai’s likely replacement Tommy Kraemer, who is also injured, while left guard Jonah Jackson seems to be on the wrong side of questionable after not practicing at all on Thursday and Friday with a hand injury. The Lions still have arguably the worst defense in the league, so they will need their offense to be at least above average to be a competitive team and, even though they had some offensive success in week one, it’s hard to see that continuing with their offensive line in its current state. Despite that, the Lions are still slight favorites at home over the Commanders, with this line at Detroit -1.5.
Washington’s defense is without probably its best player Chase Young due to injury, but they will likely get safety Kamren Curl back this week after he missed week one and they’re still a solid unit even without Young, while their offense should be significantly improved this season, with upgrades at quarterback and wide receiver and an offensive line that should be healthier. The Commanders should be favored here on the road against this banged up Lions squad and my numbers suggest they should be favored by close to a full field goal, so we’re getting good enough line value with them at +1.5 for the Commanders to be worth betting. The money line is also a great value at +105.
Washington Commanders 23 Detroit Lions 20 Upset Pick +105
Pick against the spread: Washington +1.5