Today's Free Picks for
Posted Friday at 12:45 PM EST.
1:00 PM EST. What do the Lions have to do to get some respect around here? For a third straight week and the second time at home this season, Detroit is a dog. While it’s clear that a pair of wins over the Cardinals and Giants don’t hold much weight in this market, don’t sleep on head coach Jim Caldwell and these Lions. The Lions took the Giants to school with an easy and convincing win and put up 35 easy points on the Cardinals in Week 1 while holding a significant edge in time of possession. While quarterback Matthew Stafford is the league’s highest-paid player that has got most of the attention this season, it’s the Lions defense that is carrying this team. On the surface it looks decent enough with the Lions allowing just 578 yards through two games good for 10th in the league but it gets even better when we dig a little deeper and find that Detroit is 4th in Defensive DVOA (a state that measures a team’s efficiency by comparing success on every single play to a league average based on situation and opponent) which is a better representation of where that unit is as a whole. By comparison, the Falcons are just 23rd in the league using that relevant metric. Detroit is coming off another outstanding defensive effort. Its offense is coming off a game against a very good Giants defense and now returns home to take a big step down in class in facing the Falcons defense. That matters and so do situations. Atlanta is coming off a high-profile game on Sunday night against the Packers. That game opened the Falcons new stadium and also allowed fans to erase the stinging memory of Atlanta’s Super Bowl meltdown. Everything is fine once again in Atlanta, as the Falcons are 2-0 and just showcased on National TV that they are not to be forgotten. With Buffalo and Miami on deck after this one, Atlanta might be feeling a little complacent here. They won their first big game of the season and don’t have another big game until their sixth game of the season when they get another crack at the Patriots. The media is already talking about that rematch.
Atlanta had nothing but trouble and near misery in their first road game of the season in Chicago when motivation is high and everyone is excited to play a game that counts. This now becomes the perfect spot to fade the Falcons because their intensity figures to be lower than it was in Week 1 in Chicago and much lower that it was last week against the Pack. Detroit is almost always a tough out in their own barn but more importantly, this is a much bigger game to the Lions than it is to the Falcons. Detroit is the most disrespected team in the league that has a great opportunity here to beat a team with market cred. We trust they’ll respond. Detroit outright is the call.
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DETROIT +137 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.74)