The Detroit Lions have won 13 of their last 17 games.
Over that same span of time, the Las Vegas Raiders have gone 7-10.
That 6-game difference between the two teams over a full season’s worth of games says a lot.
It also helps explain why DraftKings Sportsbook has the Lions as heavy favorites for Week 8’s iteration of Monday Night Football.
At first blush, I’m inclined to give the points and take the Lions given that they’re 5-2 and went into Week 8 with a 2-game lead in their division.
Plus, they’re playing at home.
And, if I’m being completely honest, I just don’t think the Raiders can compete with them - especially if Detroit feels like they have something to prove after the butt-whooping they took last weekend.
Which brings me to the reason that I have trouble saying that my second-favorite team will absolutely win tonight and cover the spread.
I do think they’ll win, but . . .
Last Sunday, the Lions went to Baltimore as 3-point underdogs and head coach Dan Campbell watched the Ravens score 28 points before his offense managed to record their first 1st down.
The Lions lost 38-6, and it could have easily been 60-zip.
Is Baltimore that good? Probably not.
Is Detroit that bad? Negatory.
But “any given Sunday” ain’t a cliche for nothing - and last Sunday was a prime example of it.
Speaking of which . . .
The Raiders were completely destroyed in Buffalo in Week 2 when they gave up 24 unanswered points over the final 32 minutes and lost by 28.
Buffalo was an 8-1/2-point favorite though, so the difference between them and the Raiders was at least somewhat expected.
What happened to the Raiders last Sunday was definitely worse.
Las Vegas was a 2-1/2-point road favorite in Chicago, but lost by 18 - which doesn’t sound that terrible until you look at the box score and realize that it was 30-6 before a Raiders TD with 1:10 to play made the final score look a little bit better.
The Raiders’ possessions went like this:
- First half: Missed field goal, punt, interception, field goal
- Second half: Punt, field goal, pick-6, interception, garbage-time touchdown
Granted, that was without Jimmy G. in the lineup.
Still . . .
Josh Jacobs (11 carries for 35 yards), Davante Adams (7 of 12 for 57 yards), Jakobi Meyers (7 of 13 for 50 with a TD), and the league’s 10th-best defense should be able to handle a team that:
- Was 1-5 coming into the game;
- Was starting a rookie quarterback (Tyson Bagent);
- Was handing the ball off to a running back (D’Onta Foreman) who came into the game with season totals of 20 carries for 81 yards; and
- Features a defense that allows 26.9 points per game (No. 28 league-wide)
But . . .
Any. Given. Sunday.
Which also applies to Monday.
Offensive and Defensive comparisons for tonight’s game:
Let’s start with the defense since the two teams align pretty closely there . . .
- Las Vegas’ defense allows 316.4 yards and 23.0 points per game. The yards are No. 10 league-wide, and the points are No. 22.
- Detroit’s defense allows 316.9 yards and 21.6 points per game. The yards are No. 11, and the points are No. 19.
On offense, it’s a different story . . .
- Detroit’s offense averages 377.0 yards per game (No. 4 league-wide), and scores 24.9 points per game (No. 8).
- Las Vegas’ offense averages 284.1 yards per game (No. 27), and scores 16.0 points per game (No. 30).
I’m going to say, “Any given Sunday (or Monday)” again, but everything I’ve written seems to run counter to that.
Perhaps it’s the Lions fan in me that’s afraid to embrace the team for fear that they’ll disappoint me yet again. Or maybe it’s the knowledge that Jimmy G is expected to play and could give the Raiders a much-needed boost.
Who am I kidding though?
The Pick: Lions win, Lions cover, Under 46.5 points
For what it’s worth, the Raiders lead the all-time series, 7-6, but the Lions have won four of the last five games between these two teams.
Now, let’s see what the rest of the Field Gulls staff thinks . . .