Will Jared Goff find validation and clinch the first victory for the Detroit Lions on Sunday at the expense of the Baltimore Ravens? According to the NFL lines, the Lions have less than a 25 percent shot of pulling off the outright upset. Do the oddsmakers have it right?
|Game: Baltimore Ravens (1-1) at Detroit Lions (0-2)
Location: Ford Field, Detroit. Date: Sunday
Time: 1 p.m. ET
|Team||Point Spread||Moneyline||Over/Under||Team Total|
|Baltimore Ravens||-9 Ev||-400||50 -110o||30 -110o
|Detroit Lions||+9 -120||+320||50 -110u||20½ -115o
Head to Head
This is the first meeting between the Baltimore Ravens and Detroit Lions since the blockbuster quarterback swap between the Detroit Lions and the Los Angeles Rams. Goff was sent packing to Detroit while Matthew Stafford moved to L.A. Moreover, the Lions have undergone organizational change and wholesale roster changes.
Next game: at Denver Broncos
The Baltimore Ravens edged the Kansas City Chiefs 36-35 under the bright lights of Sunday night football. It marked the first win for Lamar Jackson and the Ravens in four meetings with the Chiefs, and the cheerful bonhomie and good humour after the game indicated just how meaningful this win was to everyone in Baltimore’s camp.
Jackson put the Ravens on his back and rallied his team to a comeback victory. The Chiefs did get the ball in the final minutes for the game, but Clyde Edwards-Helaire coughed up the ball, giving the ball back to Baltimore.
Getting that monkey off their backs will lighten the load, but as Jackson rightly pointed out in his post-game presser, “We didn’t win the Super Bowl yet, it’s just one game.”
Cornerback Marcus Peters (knee) was placed on IR. Safety Deshon Elliot (concussion), defensive tackle Brandon Williams (neck), tackle Ronnie Staley (ankle), defensive end Daelin Hayes (knee), defensive end Derek Wolfe (back) and cornerback Jimmy Smith (ankle) are questionable for Sunday.
Next game: at Chicago
The Lions are flush off a loss to the Packers in Week 2, but for the first half of the game they fought valiantly, gave the Packers a run for their money and took the 17-14 lead into the locker room. Goff started brightly, completing 13 of his first 14 passes for 137 yards and two touchdowns. He moved the ball seemingly at will, and had the packed stadium at Lambeau Field on edge.
Returning for the second half, however, the Lions did a complete 180-degrees. The mistakes began to pile up and the Lions unraveled along with them. Careless penalties, inefficient clock management, sloppy play, including Goff’s two interceptions and a fumble, proved to be their undoing.
Questionable for Sunday are running back D’Andre Swift (groin) and tackle Kevin Strong (concussion). Wide receiver Tyrell Williams (concussion) is out while center Evan Brown (undisclosed) and Ifeatu Melifonwu (quadricep) are out indefinitely.
Betting on the Game
Las Vegas NFL odds opened with the Ravens laying 7½ points to the Lions, but the line quickly ticked up to nine points early in the week. Beating the Chiefs likely inspired the line move.
The size of the spread does give pause for consideration. After all, the Ravens barely edged the Chiefs and lost their season-opener to the Las Vegas Raiders. The Ravens were the road favorites, but Jon Gruden didn’t get the memo. And the Raiders stunned the Ravens 33-27 in overtime to win outright as the field goal pups.
Statement victories often lead to letdowns immediately afterward, and the Ravens are in such a precarious spot after the euphoria of Week 2. They are in danger of underestimating the 0-2 straight-up Lions at the expense of the point spread, if not the outright win.
The Ravens are a modest 1-1-0 SU and ATS, but they have a losing margin of 2.5 points on average. The cross-section is small. However, these accounts, taken together in their entirety, reveal that the Ravens are beatable. Teams are taking it to Jackson and Co. more often than not, which forces the Ravens to fight harder to win and cover.
Goff is looking for self-validation after his public divorce from the Rams. Beating the Ravens fits that bill, although it’s a tall order.
The Lions are searching for their first win and they’ll be motivated. So long as the defense doesn’t bottle it, the Lions have a shot. By the NFL odds, the Lions are the home underdogs priced at +320. The implied probability in the odds is just under 25 percent. So, not entirely improbable.
The total for this game opened on 49 points, but the needle has already moved up to 50 points. Goff and Jackson can put up points in a hurry, the Lions’ defense is more porous than a sieve and the banged-up Ravens’ defense might struggle. These realities converging together could deliver a high-scoring affair that cracks the over, and, potentially, defies the NFL odds.