The Detroit Lions are still looking for their initial win under first-year head coach Dan Campbell. That includes three losses in the preseason and four setbacks to open the 2021 regular campaign.
But, before you toss the Lions out with the Sunday garbage, it is worth noting that the Lions have not been bad against the point spread. They staged a furious fourth quarter rally on opening day against the San Francisco 49ers to pick up a point spread win while losing by eight points and getting nine on the line.
Two weeks ago, they went toe-to-toe with the talented Baltimore Ravens and would have gotten that elusive first win had the Ravens not converted a 66-yard field goal on the games final play to eke out a 19-17 win. The Lions won the point spread against John Harbaugh’s team while getting a touchdown on the spread.
With a close game against the Ravens and their opponent last week, the Chicago Bears, coming off a 20 point loss and starting rookie quarterback Justin Fields for the first time, one can understand why the Lions were considered in a good position to pick up their first win last Sunday at Soldier Field. The public was backing Detroit on the road last week and the point spread was a slimmed down three points.
What the Bears had last week at home is what I like to call a favorite with underdog motivation. This is a great combination, because the team that is considered more talented, based on being favored on the point spread, is thought to be in trouble based on recent results. What that delivers is the better team not at all confident, but in a perfect motivational spot to play their best.
Now we know what Chicago’s best is; a ten point win at home over the Lions.
More importantly, we know that the Lions, who thought last week was their chance for their first win and had that overconfidence hinder their play, are now headed to meet another NFC North Division foe, the Minneosta Vikings.
No confidence this week in Detroit.
Instead, they go from last week's 10 point road loss to being a double-digit underdog tomorrow in Minnesota. The trap that caught the Lions last week is now set for the Vikings.
Minnesota lost at home last Sunday to the Cleveland Browns, 14-7. The Browns defense shut out the Vikings for the final three quarters of that game in notching the road victory. Now the Vikings come off that defeat not looking down the gun barrel of a 1-3 season start, but with confidence that their second win is only 60 minutes of game clock away.
Perhaps the Lions didn’t even know they were overconfident last week and that was as much of a reason as any why they lost to Chicago. They also likely don’t know that this week they are geared for a win against a home Vikings squad wandering into a surprise defeat.
I fully expect that the Lions get their first win for their new coach on Sunday, and if I miss on that prediction, ten points on the spread is a nice insurance policy on the wager.
Qoxhi Picks: Detroit Lions (+10) over Minnesota Vikings