The Detroit Lions are set to wrap up their 2021 NFL preseason schedule on Friday.
After two winless performances, the Lions host the Indianapolis Colts this week. Do the oddsmakers see any better results for Detroit in the preseason finale?
Colts vs. Lions: Detroit an underdog again
Detroit finds itself as — you guessed it — an underdog in its game on Friday.
Most oddsmakers see the Lions as a 3.5-point underdog at home against the Colts. FanDuel Sportsbook originally had the Lions as a 3-point underdog.
As of Tuesday afternoon, moneylines for Detroit are generally ranging from +140 to +150. The over/under total was initially listed from 32 to 33 points.
The best live lines on the Lions’ spread, moneyline and the overall game total are , and .
The Lions are 0-2 thus far in the preseason, but they did cover the spread behind a 20-point fourth quarter in last week’s 26-20 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Indianapolis is 2-0 in the preseason, with a 12-10 win over the Minnesota Vikings and a 21-18 victory over the Carolina Panthers. The Colts are 1-0-1 against the consensus spread in the two games.
Starters struggle, backups rally in Pittsburgh
Similar to the preseason opener against Buffalo, the Detroit Lions’ starters against Pittsburgh weren’t too impressive.
However, the backups put together a second-half rally to keep things interesting. The Lions eventually settled for that 26-20 loss after trailing 23-0.
Detroit gave up 401 yards to the Steelers, while the Lions put up just 288 total yards.
Dan Campbell kept a number of starters from playing, including quarterback Jared Goff.
Tim Boyle and David Blough handled duties under center. Boyle struggled, going just 7-for-15 for 44 yards. Blough led a few scoring rallies and was 12-for-17 passing for 143 yards and a touchdown.
Craig Reynolds had another decent showing, scoring a rushing touchdown late in the game for his second score of this preseason.
Defensively, rookie cornerback AJ Parker led Detroit with eight tackles, including two for loss. Rookie linebacker Derrick Barnes showed some promise with six tackles and a sack.
Top picks drawing criticism
Last Saturday provided some more preseason jeers for recent top Detroit Lions NFL Draft picks.
First-round 2020 pick Jeff Okudah is in need of a bounce-back 2021. The No. 3 selection was deemed among the worst defensive backs in the NFL last season.
Thus far in the preseason, Okudah isn’t showing much growth under a new coaching staff.
In last Saturday’s loss, Okudah was burned early on a 43-yard catch by Diontae Johnson. He also then made a highlight reel for the wrong reasons when Najee Harris juked him to the ground.
Linebacker Jahlani Tavai, a 2019 second-round pick, appears in danger of being cut this preseason.
The third-year player from Hawaii continues to struggle in pass coverage and with the speed of the NFL. Tavai has just 108 tackles over 31 games in his NFL career, with only two sacks.
This year’s first-round pick, Penei Sewell, has shown some promise, but also has had moments where it looks like the shift to right tackle could be problematic.
Sewell certainly has a much larger grace period than Okudah and Tavai, with this being just his second preseason NFL game. Despite some blown assignments, Sewell has still had some pancake blocks and good pass protection.
Colts overcoming loss of Carson Wentz
Indianapolis was dealt a big blow during training camp when new starting quarterback Carson Wentz suffered a broken bone in his left foot.
Original timetables called for Wentz to be out into the early portion of the regular season. However, he is optimistic that he will make the season opener.
Still, the Colts have had Jacob Eason and Sam Ehlinger currently battling for the new starting role with Wentz out.
Eason has been more consistent thus far, going 31 of 48 for 315 yards. Ehlinger is just 18-for-33 for 225 yards with three interceptions.
Indy has struggled to establish a run game this preseason, averaging only 2.9 yards per carry right now.
Defensively, the Colts have been looking strong through two games. They are giving up just 270 yards per game and holding opponents to a 29.4% conversion rate (5 of 17) on third down.