NFL Sunday Picks: Washington at Detroit Lions

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The Lions are contenders in the league’s worst division.

Washington at Detroit Lions

Time: NOON (EST)

Spread: DET -3.5

Total: 46.5

Odds c/o Bovada

The Detroit Lions have dropped its last two games to fall to 3-5 on the season, and it is tied with the Minnesota Vikings for the worst mark in the NFC North. Despite this, the Lions have some hope: NFL Oddsmakers are marking it as 3.5-point favorites in its showdown with Washington this Sunday. The over-under is set at 46.5 total points according to NFL oddsmakers at Bovada, and the game will air at Noon (EST) on FOX.

DET

The Detroit Lions have been streaky and inconsistent this season. It began the year 0-2 before going on to win three of its next four. Then, it proceeded to lose back-to-back weeks again. Whether this is just mediocrity or whether there is some legitimate intrigue in this Lions team really remains to be seen. The Lions, as usual, possess a strong passing offense, but its rush lingers at just 101.1 yards per game, and it manages only 24.6 points per game itself, which is hard enough with the fifth-worst defense, surrendering 30 per game to opponents.

Matt Stafford has been his usual self for the most part, but he has definitely had his share of miscues. To that tune, he has thrown seven interceptions already this year, and he has been sacked 21 times or 2.7 times per game roughly. Worse still, is that Stafford has lost 158 yards on those plays collectively, and it begins to slowly tell the story of why the Lions are a losing football team (at least thus far).

The offensive line is just weak. While Adrian Peterson may certainly be on a heavy decline, with a proper OL blocking for him, he would be far better than 3.8 yards-per-carry. De’Andre Swift has fared somewhat better but has carried the ball roughly half as many times as Peterson. Stafford has been effective rushing with 4.5 yards-per-carry, but the Lions still only have seven rushing touchdowns on the season.

Detroit’s top-four receivers all have amassed 300 yards or better, while TJ Hockenson leads the team in receiving touchdowns with five. He also leads the way in first downs, a big tight end passing target that Stafford is confident throwing to (He leads the Lions’ in targeted passes with 49, as well). But all in all, the offense is not really the area to knit pick this Lions team. The issues with its defense are far more grave and are what have kept the Lions in the realm of mediocrity once again in 2020.

WAS

Washington has been a woeful team thus far, a team without a name, and also coincidentally, one without much of an identity on the field either. After starting the season with a win over Philadelphia, it proceeded to drop its next five games, and Washington is just 2-6 thus far, but amazingly that trails division-leading Philly by just one game. The NFC East features all teams with losing records—good times.

Obviously, the story for Washington revolves around a three-headed quarterback, the most anticipated of which is Dwayne Haskins Jr. He leads the trio in yardage (939) and is tied with Kyle Allen with four touchdowns. But Haskins has thrown three interceptions and been sacked 4.3 times per game. The Washington team just is not really good at any area of the field, offensively or defensively.

Antonio Gibson and JD McKissic have had moderate success rushing the ball, and Gibson has five of the team’s nine rushing TDs. Haskins, Allen, and Alex Smith all have done poor jobs rushing from the pocket. It is just so hard to guess what Washington is most in need of, because one could reasonably answer “Everything.” But it starts with building an offensive line that can help create a better rush attack. Look for Detroit to pick up an easy “W” as oddsmakers project at Bovada.

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