Detroit Lions (1-3) at New England Patriots (1-3)
Both of these teams are dealing with significant injury problems on offense. For the Patriots, the problem is that they are down to third string quarterback Bailey Zappe, a 4th round rookie and a significant downgrade from normal starter Mac Jones. The Lions, on the other hand, have starting quarterback Jared Goff healthy, but the problem is the sheer quantity of injuries around him on offense. Two of his top-4 wide receivers, DJ Chark and Quintez Cephus, are both out, while the other two are both questionable, with top receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown seeming like a gametime decision at best, getting in just one limited practice on Friday, his first practice time since getting hurt two weeks prior. On top of that, feature back D’Andre Swift is also out.
The Lions still have the better offense than the Patriots, as they would if both teams were healthy, but the Patriots have a much bigger edge on the other side of the ball, with the Lions having arguably the worst defense in the league. Even with a third string quarterback under center, I have the Patriots calculated as 4-point favorites in this game, so we’re getting some line value with them at -3, though not nearly enough for them to be worth betting and if St Brown ends up playing I’ll probably drop all confidence on New England.
Update: St. Brown and fellow wide receiver Josh Reynolds are both playing, so I’ll lower this to no confidence.
New England Patriots 23 Detroit Lions 20
Pick against the spread: New England -3