As the Detroit Lions impressively took down the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, there was a pause… at least a fleeting thought across the state of Michigan.
Are we sure the Lions aren’t… kind of good?
They most likely are not, but let’s take a look at sportsbooks around the country for signs that the 2020 Lions season may be worth salvaging.
The 2-3 Lions are on the road again this Sunday, taking on a 1-5 Atlanta Falcons team that’s already fired its coach and seems to have packed it in on the season.
Matt Patricia’s Lions piled on the points… finally
The Lions were field-goal favorites at kickoff on Sunday, routing Jacksonville 34-16.
Even the most curmudgeon fans have to admit it was a dominant effort from coach Matt Patricia and his team.
In fact, it was the most points scored for Detroit in a game Patricia presided over in his three seasons.
This is a crazy stat!
The 31 other NFL teams have scored 34 or more points an average of 6.5 times in that span, led by New Orleans (15) and Kansas City (14).
Only Washington and Jacksonville had done it just once, and Patricia’s defense has allowed 34 or more points eight times.
Lions odds: Sportsbooks expect lots of scoring in Atlanta
Despite that history — and in part because of that defense — oddsmakers expect a shootout Sunday in Atlanta.
Of the 10 NFL Week 7 games posted by DraftKings Sportsbook on Monday morning, the 56.5-point over/under for Lions at Falcons was the highest on the board.
DraftKings also expects the Falcons to get their second win of the season.
The five sportsbooks we’re tracking this week all opened with 3-point lines favoring the Falcons and a 56.5-point over/under.
|Lions at Falcons Week 6 odds||BetMGM||DraftKings||FanDuel||PointsBet||William Hill|
(-110 juice unless noted)
|DET +1.5 -115|
ATL -1.5 -105
(-110 juice unless noted)
|O 54.5 -115|
U 54.5 -106
|O 54.5 -115|
U 54.5 -105
(Last updated: 12:45 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 22.)
Any chance for a Lions playoff berth?
After the NFL Draft, the Lions were +250 to make the playoffs at FanDuel (-330 to not make it). According to DraftKings, it was +260 for a playoff berth and -335 for missing the field.
Through five games, has anything really changed with the Lions’ season?
Sure, the D’Andre Swift drop has been the difference between a winning record and a losing one.
But that Week 1 loss to Chicago was more or less swept away by a surprising road win at Arizona.
Of Detroit’s next six opponents, four have losing records and one is .500 (Carolina). Only Indianapolis (4-2) has played winning football so far this season.
Considering the NFL’s expanded playoffs (one more team in each conference gets a wildcard berth), do Lions’ fans dare dream?
According to FiveThirtyEight on Monday afternoon, the Lions had a 14% chance of making the playoffs. Football Outsiders gave it a 22.4% chance of happening.
Julio Jones, Kenny Golladay hitting their stride
Michigan fantasy football players no doubt have noticed the emphatic return to forms for these teams’ top wide receivers.
After missing two games already this season, Atlanta’s Julio Jones had his first two touchdowns of the year Sunday against Minnesota. The former University of Alabama standout had eight catches for 137 yards.
Meanwhile, Kenny Golladay had another big day for the Detroit Lions, eclipsing 100 yards for the first time this season against the Jags.
His day included a drawn pass interference penalty that set up an Adrian Peterson touchdown and this terrific catch to set up another score later.
Golladay followed up his big game with a cryptic Instagram post, perhaps referring to his lack of a contract extension so far.
Trufant out, injures could impact both teams
On Wednesday, the Lions had four starters miss practice. They were wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr. (knee), offensive lineman Frank Ragnow (groin), defensive end Trey Flowers (wrist) and cornerback Desmond Trufant (hamstring). Wide receiver Danny Amendola (foot) was limited at practice and guard Joe Dahl (groin) returned to the field.
Trufant was still out on Thursday, though Flowers, Jones and Ragnow returned on a limited basis.
On Friday, the Lions ruled Trufant out for the game.
Rookie defensive end Julian Okwara was placed on injured reserve with an injury and will miss time.
For the Falcons, Jones (hamstring) missed practice on Wednesday, in addition to defensive end Takk McKinley (groin) and defensive tackle Deadrin Senat (not injury related).
Jones returned on a limited basis on Thursday, though defensive end Dante Fowler (ankle) did not practice.
McKinley is officially questionable for the game, though it appears Jones should be ready to go.