The Carolina Panthers were favored in the Super Bowl three seasons ago, a game they lost to the Denver Broncos, and are a serious contender this year. They currently trail the New Orleans Saints by two games in the NFC South Division, and look to bounce off a 52-21 trouncing at Pittsburgh a week ago Thursday when they visit the Detroit Lions today.
They think this one is in the bag.
The Lions have struggled most of the season, getting blown out on their home field by rookie quarterback Sam Darnold and the New York Jets during the opening weekend, and losing to the San Francisco 49ers in second week action. Then, first-year head coach Matt Patricia surprised his old boss in third week play with a victory over the New England Patriots.
Before being named the Lions head coach last January, Patricia had served on Bill Belichick’s Patriots staff for 14 seasons, including most recently as defensive coordinator. His knowledge of the New England personnel may have been the key in guiding his new team to a win over the powerhouse Patriots while picking up his first victory as an NFL head coach.
That triumph ushered in the four best weeks of the Lions season to date, which included four consecutive point spread wins and three straight-up victories. But, their success was limited to that four week span, as the Lions have now lost three straight game and are looking down the gun barrel of a fourth straight loss when an angry Panthers squad visits Ford Field.