Free NFL Picks: New England Patriots at Detroit Lions Saturday Preseason Preview

New England Patriots at Detroit Lions
Saturday, 8/27/11, 8:00 PM EST, TV:  CBS
Opening Point Spread:  New England -4
Current Betting Line:  New England -3.5
Opening Total:  44
Current Total:  45
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

Lions Redskins NFL Preview
Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford has been brilliant during the 2011 NFL preseason through two weeks

New England improved to 2-0 during preseason action with a 31-14 road victory last week over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  It was the first appearance of the year for most Patriots’ starters, including quarterback Tom Brady.  He played the first 30 minutes of action and led the team to a 28-0 halftime lead.  Turning his attention to this week’s contest, the reigning NFL MVP knows that the Lions are going to come after him.  “They can get after the quarterback,” Brady stated.  “So, you’re not going to be standing back there holding onto it for too long.”  The Patriots came away with a 45-24 win over the Lions during last Thanksgiving, as he finished 21-of-27 for 341 yards and his second career perfect passer rating of 158.3.  New England is 16-16 ATS in preseason road games.

The Patriots have come into the season angry after being knocked out of the playoffs by the New York Jets in 2010, as they posted a 14-2 record and entered the postseason as the AFC’s No. 1 seed.  New England showed its ability to run the football against Tampa Bay in Week 2, gaining 200 yards on 36 carries for a 5.6-yard average.  Former LSU star Stevan Ridley led the team in rushing for a second consecutive week, gaining 84 yards on 14 carries.  It must also be said that wide receiver Chad Ochocinco made some noise in his first appearance in a Patriots’ uniform, catching an eight-yard touchdown pass from Brady.

Detroit is also a perfect 2-0 through two weeks and makes up the other half of this week’s only undefeated matchup in Week 3 of the NFL preseason.  The Lions would obviously love to remain perfect before the regular-season opener, but fans don’t have to go back too far in order to see how that works out.  The team finished 4-0 in exhibition games in 2008, only to become the first team in NFL history to go 0-16.  Professional handicappers are quick to point out that the Lions two wins have come against lower competition in the Cincinnati Bengals (34-3) and Cleveland Browns (30-28).  Detroit is 7-3 ATS in preseason action.

The Lions will realistically only go as far as quarterback Matthew Stafford is able to take them.  Detroit is hoping the third-year starter can stay healthy for an entire season, something he’s been unable to do since being drafted No. 1 overall in the 2009 NFL draft.  “We don’t go out there and say, ‘Don’t take a hit,” said Schwartz.  “I think our quarterback play has been outstanding in the preseason.”  Stafford enters Saturday night having completed 12 of 17 passes for 156 yards and three touchdowns.

Bettors will likely back the Lions due to their 2-0 ATS mark versus AFC East opponents, while the Patriots are 0-1 ATS as road favorites of 3.5 to 7 points.

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