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New England Patriots vs. Detroit Lions Point Spread - Pick

New England Patriots (1-1 SU, 1-1 ATS) vs. Detroit Lions (0-2 SU, 1-1 ATS)
Week 3 NFL
Date/Time: Sunday Night Football, September 23, 2018 at 8:20PM EDT
Where: Ford Field, Detroit, Michigan
TV: NBC

By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Point Spread: NE -6.5/DET +6.5
Over/Under Total: 51.5

On Sunday Night Football, the New England Patriots come to Ford Field to take on the Detroit Lions. Adding another layer of interest is that former Pats defensive coordinator Matt Patricia will be facing his old team as the new head coach of Detroit. It hasn't gone that great so far for Patricia and the Lions, dropping their first two games, including a 30-27 loss at San Fran on Sunday. They look to right the ship at home, but face a Pats team that will be in no mood, coming off a rough 31-20 loss to the Jaguars in week two. Who can come out ahead in this SNF matchup?

It's not easy to candy-coat Detroit's first two games. Week one got off to as rough a start as you can get—blown out at home by the Jets of all teams. Week two saw more of the same, with the Niners leading 30-13 almost midway through the fourth quarter. Detroit's offense perked up with two late TDs to at least cover the spread. They're hoping they can pick up where they left off in this matchup. But all things being equal, it hasn't been a very satisfying beginning to a season where people had some hope.

Lions QB Matthew Stafford started flashing his big arm late against the Niners on Sunday, with Marvin Jones and Michael Roberts catching scoring throws. Emerging WR Kenny Golladay caught one earlier in the game, but 0-2 is still a rough start. The run-game hasn't quite turned over and playing from behind hasn't helped, but LeGarrette Blount and rookie Kerryon Johnson are starting to show livelier legs. WR Golden Tate was over 100 yards on Sunday, so the offense at least started springing to life a bit. A bad line, however, makes it pretty difficult to thrive on a consistent basis.

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The Detroit defense hasn't shown much rigidity in allowing a combined 77 points in their first two games. That's a shame because they do have a playmaking element across this unit. Jarrad Davis and Devon Kennard both had two sacks apiece on Sunday, with secondary members Tavon Wilson, Darius Slay, Glover Quin, and Quandre Diggs playing much better than in week one. But when the likes of Niners' RB Matt Breida shreds your "D," there's only so many good things you can say. Coach Patricia is a defensive guy and so far, his handiwork hasn't manifested well.

All is relative, but the Patriots have some stuff on their plates, as well. Jacksonville pretty much whipped their butts. Sounding the alarms would be premature, noting how many times the Pats have altered course on a dime over the years. Things that would have other teams panicking can be taken more in-stride with New England, considering their coaching and track-record. And early in the week, citing the need for some outside speed, WR Josh Gordon was signed. They still have to wait a few weeks for Julian Edelman to return, but there is hope on the horizon.

Much of the offense didn't fire on Sunday, albeit in a tough road game against a superb defense in Jacksonville. The big play was absent, as Tom Brady took what he could get. Rookie back Sony Michel made his debut and they have a varied backfield, just one that hasn't made an impact through two games. Rob Gronkowski caught just two passes on Sunday, with Chris Hogan also quiet. Look for Gordon to help and for the Pats to be able to run the ball a bit better this week.

At some point, the Patriots' defense will be a sticking-point. Last season, they were able to get it together on some level, despite moments of extreme incompetence, especially in defending the pass. They performed well against the Texans and Deshaun Watson aerially in week one, but Bortles really gashed this group with 377 yards passing last week. They might have to win some track meets this season, hence the Gordon signing.

Urgency would seem to play a factor in this week three matchup. Detroit can't afford more slipups before support starts to wane. At home for the second time this season, they need a lot better than their week one 48-17 stinker to the Jets. But having a team like the Pats coming into town makes it a hard to get on the right track. For the Lions, it would have been better for them if the Patriots just went ahead and beat the Jags last week. Looking to not fall to 1-2, the Patriots will be hitting Detroit with some extra juice.

This Sunday night matchup is not an easy one in which to get a grasp. Detroit looked like doo-doo for seven quarters, with that last bit against San Fran last week cause for pause. Some might be looking past them this week. With New England, a lot of hope is tied into things like track-record, which may or not hold water for the purposes of accurately gauging the 2018 Pats. Still, I see the Lions being good enough here to cover the number. I'll take the home dog.

Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the Detroit Lions plus 6.5 points. Bet the Pats-Lions game for FREE by taking advantage of a massive 100% sign-up bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $500 at GTBets!

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