Detroit is mired in a long slump to finish the 2019 season, and the Broncos have managed to show some signs of life to claw out of the NFL basement. So what does that mean for this game? To start, it means that Detroit will once again be heavy underdogs on the field as they prepare to hit the road.
This week, as Vegas Insider explained, the Lions are a 6.5 point underdog to the Broncos, a team that only has a few more wins than they do, but one that has also showed much more life than the Lions in recent weeks. All of that adds up to make the Lions a very steep underdog this time around.
There is nothing on the line but draft positioning for these two, so plenty of Lions fans won’t mind being a steep underdog for this contest. In terms of the series history, it’s nothing new.
Lions History vs. Broncos
As expected, these two sides don’t routinely meet given their status in the NFC and AFC respectively. Currently, the Broncos are riding a winning advantage head to head, with a 7-5 mark against the Lions. Their last game against Detroit came in 2015, and was a 24-12 Denver win. Prior to that, Detroit had won two straight in the series in 2007 and 2011. Obviously, this isn’t a game that is played a ton.
The last time the Lions went to Denver was in 2011, and it was a dominating win that day fueled by big plays. Detroit will have to hope for similar results this time around, no matter how far fetched it might seem given their current roster state.
Should Lions Keep Tanking to Finish 2019?
The Lions are in an interesting predicament. Matthew Stafford has a painful back injury he’s fighting that might not be as debilitating long term as it initially sounded. As a result, Stafford could return in a few weeks to give the team some much needed juice, even though he probably shouldn’t. Do the Lions still have a shot at the playoffs? With three teams ahead of them in the NFC North and other contenders with better records, the hopes would seemingly on the surface be slim at this point, meaning many will contend the team should decide to tank for the chances of a better draft selection.
Detroit isn’t likely to outwardly give up on their 2019 season with the sole purpose of the 2020 draft even if it makes sense, but should the team keep losing, a higher pick is merely another advantage of some short term pain. This coming season, the Lions could use more defensive help most of all in addition to some depth at wide receiver, quarterback, running back and along the offensive line. In recent weeks, it has appeared that the Lions have started the tank.
As it stands today, Detroit has seven picks in the 2020 draft. They added an extra fifth round selection after dealing Quandre Diggs this past trade deadline. Detroit traded a 2020 seventh round pick for Eli Harold entering the 2018 season.
Another loss to the Broncos, which is favored to happen at this point, would likely help the Lions all but sew up a top selection for 2020.