Everything that could have possibly gone wrong for the Detroit Lions early on already has.
A demoralizing collapse that gets the fan base in familiar defeatist mode to start the season? Check.
A blowout loss to a divisional foe expected to stay in the mix for the NFC North title throughout the season? The Lions that too.
A few key injuries, along with debut flops by key offseason acquisitions?
The Lions have checked all the boxes for a sickening September.
At 0-2, Detroit travels to Arizona to battle quarterback Kyler Murray and the 2-0 Cardinals in the desert on Sunday.
Lions, Patricia must turn things around right now
Oddsmakers must believe desperate Detroit will respond for third-year coach Matt Patricia in what is quickly becoming a must-win situation.
Righting the ship immediately is imperative for this team to have any chance of playing meaningful football in November. It’s also likely true that Patricia’s job, and probably that of General Manager Bob Quinn, hang in the balance right now.
Famously, Quinn claimed that 9-7 was not good enough, firing coach Jim Caldwell after he missed the playoffs for the second time in his four seasons. Since then, Patricia is 9-24-1 at the helm.
The Lions have another tough game next week as New Orleans visits. There’s a real chance Detroit hits the bye week at 0-4.
Sportsbooks still have Lions within a touchdown
Just like last week, the Lions are going on the road up against a hot quarterback and a high-powered offense for an undefeated team.
But oddsmakers are again not predicting a rout, which materialized in Sunday’s 42-21 embarrassment at Lambeau Field.
The books still have the Lions as one-score underdogs to Arizona, an NFC West team on the rise.
|Lions at Cardinals Week 3 odds||BetMGM||BetRivers||DraftKings||FanDuel||PointsBet|
(-110 juice unless noted)
|DET +5 -107|
ARI -5 -107
(-110 juice unless noted)
|O 55.5 -107|
U 55.5 -107
(Last updated: 1:15 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 26.)
If this seems low, oddsmakers are likely factoring a desperation factor for 0-2 teams like the Lions whose seasons are already tilting terribly.
On Monday, the 0-2 New York Giants (minus Saquon Barkley) were only 4-point home underdogs to San Francisco, and 0-2 Atlanta, which is also playing at home, was actually favored by 3.5 points against the 2-0 Chicago Bears.
Still got hope for a playoff long shot bet?
Along with any realistic playoff chances, the Lions are fading fast in future bets.
After starting the season at +550 to win the NFC North at DraftKings Sportsbook, the Lions have already faded to +2,000.
As for an improbable Super Bowl title, the odds have ranged from +6,000 to +8,000 before Week 1 to +13,000 on Monday at FanDuel.
You can probably set those slips on fire (don’t actually set them on fire).
Kenny Golladay appears on track to debut
Wide receiver Kenny Golladay missed Detroit’s first two games with a hamstring injury, but he appears on track for his season debut. Free agent Halapoulivaati Vaitai, who signed on as the team’s starting right tackle, has been out with a foot injury.
Both players were back at practice on Wednesday and Thursday in a limited capacity.
On Friday, both players were designated as questionable. Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press says he expects both to start.
Lions injury report:
Kenny Golladay – questionable
Halapoulivaati Vaitai – questionable
Desmond Trufant – doubtful
Hunter Bryant – out
(FWIW, I expect both Golladay and Vaitai to start)https://t.co/wjIPDlcOBm via @freep
— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) September 25, 2020
Starting defensive backs Justin Coleman and Desmond Trufant were injured in Week 1’s loss to Chicago and missed Green Bay. Starting guard Joe Dahl also missed the Green Bay game after he injured his groin at practice last week.
Dahl and Coleman are on injured reserve and won’t play this week. Trufant was ruled out on Saturday.
#Lions CB Desmond Trufant (hamstring) has been downgraded to OUT for Sunday’s game at Arizona.
— Detroit Lions (@Lions) September 26, 2020
The Lions and Cardinals avoided Sunday’s rash of injuries that decimated several other teams.
Okudah joins Lions’ list of disastrous debuts
Lions rookie cornerback Jeff Okudah made his debut after missing the Bears game and was awful.
welcome to the NFL, jeffrey okudah.
davante adams is unrealpic.twitter.com/wJJ0PGiZRN
— Austin Gayle (@PFF_AustinGayle) September 20, 2020
Kyle Meinke of MLive passed along the ugly numbers.
Jeff Okudah was targeted 10 times by Aaron Rodgers. Allowed seven completions for 121 yards and a QB rating of 110.8. He was Detroit's worst defensive player, per @pff, and currently ranks 98th out of 99 players at the position.
Like I said. Patience required.
— kyle meinke (@kmeinke) September 21, 2020
That comes after two other big additions had rough openers against Chicago. Linebacker Jamie Collins was ejected for making contact with a referee, and rookie running back D’Andre Swift dropped a go-ahead touchdown pass late.
Three things to know for Lions at Cardinals
- Success for Patricia! For years, Lions fans could chalk up the long trip to Arizona as a loss, falling eight straight times from 1999 to 2014. But Patricia is actually 1-0-1 there. It’s one of five teams he’s faced more than once, and the only one of those he has a winning record against.
- Late kick: This 4:25 p.m. start is the only Lions game this season that will kick off after 1 p.m. Since the Lions are the Lions, the NFL did not put them in primetime this year, calling the annual Thanksgiving debacle their required national game. Patricia is 1-3-1 in late afternoon kicks, going winless in three trips west last season.
- Long time coming: Addition DeAndre Hopkins has led the team in receiving in his first two games with Arizona. However, the four-time Pro Bowler had four catches for 44 yards in one career game against Detroit (2016 for Houston). Those totals are his lowest career totals against any NFL team.