The Detroit Lions were favorites entering the first game of the 2020 NFL season, but their performance in Week 1 hasn’t left them with many believers.
Heading into what figures to be a stiff Week 2 test against the Green Bay Packers, early lines show the Packers pushing out to being nearly touchdown favorites. The spread right now is currently hovering between 5.5 and 6.5 point advantage for Green Bay.
The Packers open as favorites by 5.5 to 6.5 over the Lions next Sunday in Green Bay. Stay tuned for changes.
— Mike O'Hara (@MikeOHaraNFL) September 14, 2020
Typically, Lions games with the Packers have been very close in recent years and 2019 was no exception. The Packers won both games, but each came in the closing seconds after frenzied drives and late field goals. To that end, the fact that a bit of a blowout is projected is interesting. Obviously, few are confident in the Lions playing well enough to win.
There won’t be fans at Lambeau Field for this game, which might be an advantage for Detroit. Either way, the Lions aren’t favored to start Week 2, and don’t figure to be. It will be interesting to see how high this margin goes during the week.
Lions-Packers Recent History
Prior to last season, Detroit had gone 2 full seasons without sustaining a loss to the Packers, which is quite an accomplishment when you consider the series history of the teams. In fact, before last year’s first loss by Detroit, the number of days since the Packers beat the Lions had become gaudy and was up over 1,000. Arguably, it’s the best Lions fans have been able to feel about this particular rivalry.
It's been 1,006 days since the Packers beat the Lions.
— Steve Lorenz (@TremendousUM) October 4, 2019
The last time Green Bay beat Detroit before 2019? January 1, 2017 in a game that denied the Lions the ability to win the NFC North. It was a close 31-24 loss for the Lions, but little did fans know their pain from that night would be washed away completely in the following two seasons.
In recent games against the Packers, the Lions have been able to overwhelm the opposition. They outscored the Packers 127-51, and pounded Aaron Rodgers into submission. The Lions knocked Rodgers from the last game the sides played in 2018 and injured him. Detroit has also gotten solid play from Matthew Stafford in these games they have won.
Beating a team such as the Packers consistently starts with the ability to get good quarterback play and the Lions have seen that from Stafford as they have managed to overwhelm the Packers. They forced turnovers, and have overwhelmed Green Bay to be a +6 in the turnover margin in these four contests they previously won.
All of that changed last year with a pair of close losses, and the Lions have to find a way to get back to what works against their biggest rival. It will be a big challenge, and one the bettors are realizing with the early line.
Lions Made History With Bears Collapse
Coming into Sunday’s game, entering a fourth quarter with a 17 point lead or more all but assured victory for a team in the last 14 years. That was the case until the Lions came along and snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, something they’ve become accustomed to doing throughout their history.
As Warren Sharp pointed out, NFL teams had won an incredible 779 games since 2006 with such a commanding late lead. Detroit’s defeat was only one of less than a handful in that mark, which is a gaudy number to consider that proves epic comebacks aren’t exactly the norm in the NFL.
The Lions became just the 4th team since 2006 to blow a 17+ point lead entering the 4th quarter.
Teams had been 779-3 (99.6%) in that span.
— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) September 14, 2020
If there was ever going to be a team that would fall into the worst possible 1% and lose, however, it would be the Lions. It’s true the team seems to invent new ways to frustrate and disappoint their fans, and this is just merely the latest example and quite possibly the cherry on top.
Even when there’s a 99% chance at victory thanks to a double digit lead, it can officially be said that the Lions don’t have things sewn up enough to feel comfortable. It’s a sobering thought for fans.
Perhaps it is a big reason the Lions are not favored in this game.