Detroit Lions at Tennessee Titans Betting Preview

Sunday, December 20, 2020, Nissan Stadium, Nashville, Tennessee, 1 p.m. ET

Lions at Titans Betting Preview: Lions (+11/-106), Titans (-11/-114)

Detroit Lions

Give interim coach Darrell Bevell credit for this much: He’s had the Lions playing hard, which is more than Matt Patricia could do near the end. Detroit rallied to beat Chicago in Bevell’s debut, then made Green Bay work 60 minutes for a 31-24 win last week.

None of that is going to help the 5-8 Lions make the playoffs, which makes this no different from most other seasons since, well, Bobby Layne was under center in the 1950s. But at least they’re giving the substitute teacher their full attention, so that’s at least a start.

The task this week was going to be tough in any event, with the No. 29 defense trying to stop Derrick Henry and a top-five offense. But an offense that is capable of scoring points against a mediocre defense might have to go without Matthew Stafford (ribs) or center Frank Ragnow (throat) this week in Nashville.      

Tennessee Titans

The schedule last week said Jacksonville, not bye. But with the exception of the Jets, playing Jacksonville is the NFL’s closest thing to a week off, and the Titans feasted on a bad defense while improving on defense in a 31-10 rout.

Henry rolled up 215 yards and now has an outside chance of reaching 2,000 for the year, as he needs 468 in the last three games. Detroit’s defense hasn’t been confused lately with the Steel Curtain, so this could be another big game.

Tennessee’s defense needs to step up again as it did last week. Its pitiful pass rush, last in the league with 14 sacks, could get a boost if Ragnow’s fractured throat prevents him from playing. It at least stiffened up against the run in Jacksonville, holding outstanding rookie back James Robinson in check while the game was still in doubt.  

Lions at Titans Betting Pick for Week 15

Different week, same task for Tennessee. Don’t let a losing team gain confidence with a fast start and let them think they can win. If the Titans are ready to play and execute well offensively, Detroit isn’t going to stop them from piling on the points.

The trick for Tennessee is to at least be competent defensively, like it was last week. The Lions have gotten a bounce from Patricia’s firing, but their weaknesses on defense are too crippling against an offense as varied and potent as the Titans’.            

Lions at Titans Betting Pick:

Titans 34, Lions 24.

Lions at Titans Best Bet for Week 15

Think over for this one. Ten of Tennessee’s last 13 home games have gone over the number and nine of its last 12 games this year have ended above the number. The total has also climbed over the number in five of Detroit’s last seven games. If you absolutely need any more convincing, try these set of numbers out: The Lions are allowing 29.9 points and the Titans 25.8. So hammer the over and add numbers to your checking account.          

Lions at Titans Best Bet: OVER 51.5 total points (-110)

Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions Betting Preview

Sunday, December 13, 2020, Ford Field, Detroit, Michigan, 4:25 p.m. ET

Packers at Lions Betting Preview: Packers (-7.5/-110), Lions (+7.5/-110)

Green Bay Packers

The NFC-North leading Packers (9-3) have won four of five behind the duo of quarterback Aaron Rodgers and wide receiver Davante Adams, who have connected for touchdowns in each of the past seven games, allowing Adams to match a franchise record.

Rodgers was 25 of 34 for 295 yards and three touchdowns in Green Bay’s 30-16 home win against Philadelphia, giving him 36 scores through the air this season. Rodgers is the first quarterback to throw for at least 35 touchdowns in five seasons and the fastest to 400 career touchdown passes, accomplishing the feat against the Eagles in his 193rd game.

Green Bay, which topped the visiting Lions 42-21 in Week 2, can win the NFC North with a victory and a Minnesota Vikings loss or tie, or a tie and a Vikings loss.

Detroit Lions

Detroit rallied from a 10-point deficit late in the fourth quarter to stun host Chicago 34-30 in Week 13 and pull within one game of the final NFC wild-card spot at 5-7.

Quarterback Matthew Stafford helped the Lions win in interim coach Darrell Bevell’s debut, finishing 27 for 42 for 402 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. The Lions again were without wide receiver Kenny Golladay (hip), who has missed the past five games and didn’t practice Wednesday.

The Lions also have been banged up on the offensive line and secondary. Bevell stressed this week that Detroit must play solid fundamentally against a Packers’ team that ranks first in the NFL in points scored (31.6 points per game) and 15th in points allowed (24.9).

Packers at Lions Betting Pick for Week 14

Despite a recent history of slow starts — and, by extension, frenetic finishes — when playing in Detroit, the Packers appear primed to not overlook the Lions, especially with a division title and postseason berth at stake.

While Rodgers and the passing game continue to shine, Green Bay also has found breakthroughs in the ground game, with Aaron Jones averaging 75.4 rushing yards a game following a 130-yard effort against the Eagles that included a late, 77-yard score.

Packers at Lions Betting Pick:

Packers 41, Lions 23

Packers at Lions Best Bet for Week 14

If Adrian Peterson and a running game that anticipates the return of D’Andre Swift (concussion) can get going, Detroit may be able to keep things close. The Packers have allowed 158, 173 and 140 yards on the ground in their three losses. But given the way Rodgers and Co. have been clicking lately — namely the connection with Adams — it’s hard to envision the Packers having many empty possessions against a Lions’ defense that allowed 30 points to the struggling Bears last week.

Packers at Lions Best Bet: OVER 55.5 total points (-106)

Houston Texans at Detroit Lions Betting Preview

Thursday, November 26, 2020, Ford Field, Detroit, Michigan, 12:30 p.m. ET

Texans at Lions Betting Preview: Texans (-3/-105), Lions (+3/-115)

Houston Texans

The Texans (3-7) should be brimming with confidence after outplaying the New England Patriots last Sunday in a 27-20 victory. Houston is 3-3 since Romeo Crennel replaced fired coach Bill O’Brien, and the Texans have suddenly become stingy on defense, allowing a total of 30 points over the past two games. Houston even held the Patriots to 86 rushing yards as the NFL’s worst run defense (159.3 yards per game) exhibited a sharp turnaround in the impressive triumph.

Quarterback Deshaun Watson threw for 344 yards for his fifth 300-yard outing in the past seven games, and he has 20 touchdown passes against just five interceptions this year. It is impossible for Will Fuller V to make people forget departed star wideout DeAndre Hopkins, but Fuller does have four 100-yard outings while making 47 catches for 708 yards and six TDs. The Texans are having trouble getting pressure on quarterbacks — defensive end J.J. Watt has a team-best four sacks — and have intercepted an NFL-low two passes.

Standout left tackle Laremy Tunsil (illness) available for practice on Tuesday and has a chance to play after sitting out against New England. Receiver Randall Cobb (toe) appears in jeopardy of missing the game.

Detroit Lions

The Lions (4-6) are in their familiar role on the Thanksgiving Day stage and are hoping to move on from a turkey performance last weekend in a 20-0 road loss to the Carolina Panthers. Detroit had just 185 total yards against a team that had lost five straight games. The Lions also were blanked for the first time since 2009 — and the initial time with Matthew Stafford as the starter. Stafford is battling a sore thumb on his throwing hand, but he has thrown 17 touchdown passes on Thanksgiving, one behind the record held by former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo.

Detroit’s running game was non-existent with just 40 yards and a long gain of 8 against the Panthers as rookie D’Andre Swift (concussion) was badly missed. Swift was a limited practice participant on Tuesday, and the Lions badly need his production — he had 246 scrimmage yards (145 rushing, 101 receiving) in the previous two games. Detroit has just 14 sacks, and six have come from defensive end Romeo Okwara, who is closing in on his career high of 7.5 set in 2018.

The short week could make it tough for receivers Kenny Golladay and Danny Amendola to return from their hip injuries. Golladay has missed the past three games, and Amendola sat out against the Panthers.

Texans at Lions Betting Pick for Week 12

Stafford was disappointed to be part of his first shutout as a starting quarterback and his thumb soreness should be dissipating. But getting Swift back would be the bigger plus as future Hall of Fame running back Adrian Peterson (3.7 average per carry) is slowing down.

Hard to tell if the Texans’ run defense can follow up a stellar showing or if it will revert back to form. Watson is playing well, but you also have to expect the Lions to be highly motivated for their annual Thanksgiving affair.

Texans at Lions Betting Pick: Lions 30, Texans 24

Texans at Lions Best Bet for Week 12

Stafford said “putting up no points is unacceptable and we know that,” so let’s figure that Detroit will find the end zone a few times. Houston gave up 30 or more points in five of its first seven games, so this could easily become a high-scoring affair.

Texans at Lions Best Bet: OVER 51.5 total points (-112)

Detroit Lions at Carolina Panthers Betting Preview

Sunday, November 22, 2020, Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, N.C., 1 p.m. ET

Lions at Panthers Betting Preview: Lions (+3/+115), Panthers (-3/-115)

Detroit Lions

The Lions (4-5) have won three of their last five games and they appear as outside contenders for playoff position. That might provide some extra motivation, or just be a false impression about their possibilities. Quarterback Matt Stafford is dealing with an injured right hand, something he played through in directing the late-game dramatics that provided the victory last week against Washington.

How he responds to treatment this week could determine his effectiveness. Even though it sounds like some of his activity is on the day-to-day level, it’s hard to imagine he’ll miss this matchup as he tends to be ready by game day in many cases. This would figure to be a critical game for Detroit if it’s going to be a serious threat for a playoff spot in another month. The Lions are 1-4 all-time in trips to Charlotte, last winning there in 1999.

Carolina Panthers

The five-game losing streak might be wearing on the Panthers, whose reaction was one of agitation after a 46-23 blowout loss to Tampa Bay. Other setbacks in the losing streak were by much narrower margins — seven points to Chicago, three points to New Orleans, eight points to Atlanta and two points to Kansas City.

The Panthers (3-7) have faced a series of well-credentialed quarterbacks in the past month: Drew Brees (Saints), Matt Ryan (Falcons), Patrick Mahomes (Chiefs) and Tom Brady (Buccaneers). The concern is that they’ve given up too many points in recent weeks. How Carolina is going to score to keep up is a good question as there’s uncertainty about if quarterback Teddy Bridgewater will respond from the knee injury sustained late in the Tampa Bay game.

At least there’s a chance he’ll be on the field, while All-Pro running back Christian McCaffrey (shoulder) will miss another game. McCaffrey hasn’t played a home game since the season opener.

Lions at Panthers Betting Pick for Week 11

The Lions don’t always carry through once expectations rise, and so this could be a dangerous type of assignment for them. The Panthers were tied with Tampa Bay at halftime before last week’s game got away from them, but they’ve been in a bunch of close games.

Carolina will be entering a game for the first time after Matt Rhule took them to task about their performance, something he had mostly shied away from with a positive approach until the most-recent loss. How the Panthers react to this might reveal a lot about how the rest of their season goes.

Lions at Panthers Betting Pick: Panthers 23, Lions 21

Lions at Panthers Best Bet for Week 11

With both teams possibly turning to second-string quarterbacks and the Panthers without McCaffrey, this could be a game that’s dictated by defenses. Bridgewater certainly has been the catalyst for the Panthers when they’ve been smooth on offense.

The Panthers, in particular, could be surly on defense if their livid reaction to their second-half performance last week in the loss to Tampa Bay is turned into something good for that unit. The Lions are prone to sputter at times on offense, though they’ve scored at least 20 points in every game this season.

Lions at Panthers Best Bet: UNDER 49 points (-110)