Detroit Lions Season Win Total: Under 8

Detroit Lions

Bet365 NFL betting line: Over 8 +105/Under 8 -135 (odds subject to change)
Last year: 4-12
Our pick: Under 8

Maybe it’s the flashy passing game of Matthew Stafford to Calvin Johnson. Perhaps it’s those blue, silver and white uniforms that we rank as the nicest in the league. Or maybe we just want to see the poor city of Detroit enjoy some success. Whatever the reason, many people are generally high on the Lions — and, except for that playoff appearance two years ago, the Lions always manage to disappoint.

Matthew Stafford attempted a league-record number of passes in 2012.
Matthew Stafford attempted a league-record number of passes in 2012.

Detroit fell from 10-6 in 2011 to 4-12 last year, making Jim Schwartz 22-42 in his four years as Lions coach. That puts Schwartz directly on the hot seat this season, even though he’s signed through 2015. Fortunately for Schwartz, there’s enough talent in Detroit to turn things around this year. Whether they actually will or not is another question, as it always is when it comes to the Lions.

Stafford and Johnson are the main staples in a Detroit passing game that ranked second in yards last season. Of course, it’s easier to throw for a pile of yards when you throw the ball a league-record 740 times like Stafford did last year. The reason why the Lions had to go to the air so much is because of their pathetic running game. Their running backs broke runs of 20 or more yards just four ties in 2012, tying for the league low in that category. Detroit hopes it has addressed its chronic weakness (the Lions haven’t had a 1,000-yard runner since 2004) with the signing of Reggie Bush, but there are questions about Bush’s durability. However, if Bush can provide Stafford with a running threat, that should open the field for Johnson and tight end Brandon Pettigrew — provided an offensive line that lost left tackle Jeff Backus (retirement) and right guard Stephen Peterman (right guard) can give Stafford time.

Defence was another weakness for the Lions in 2012 as the team ranked 27th in points against and 20th in sacks in its first year playing a Wide 9 defensive scheme. Perhaps Year 2 of the scheme will bring better results. The Lions do have a decent defensive front and they’ve brought in free agent safety Glover Quin (formerly of Houston) to bolster the secondary.

From a scheduling standpoint, there isn’t a lot to like. Detroit remains in the NFC North, where it lost all six of its games last year to rivals Green Bay, Minnesota and Chicago. Outside of the division, the “easiest” road games are trips to Arizona, Cleveland and Philadelphia. Fortunately for Detroit, its toughest non-division games are at home (Bengals, Giants, Ravens).

On paper, the Lions appear to have the talent to contend for an NFC North title, let alone finish .500 or better. But we’ve been fooled before, haven’t we? Until Detroit features a strong running game and proves it can come up big in the big games, we can’t bet on this team having a successful campaign. Give us the under 8.

Detroit Lions 2013 schedule

1 Sun, Sep 8
  • vs Minnesota
1:00 PM FOX
2 Sun, Sep 15
  •  @ Arizona
4:05 PM FOX
3 Sun, Sep 22
  • @ Washington
1:00 PM FOX
4 Sun, Sep 29
  • vs Chicago
1:00 PM FOX
5 Sun, Oct 6
  • @ Green Bay
1:00 PM FOX
6 Sun, Oct 13
  • @ Cleveland
1:00 PM FOX
7 Sun, Oct 20
  • vs Cincinnati
1:00 PM CBS
8 Sun, Oct 27
  • vs Dallas
1:00 PM FOX
10 Sun, Nov 10
  • @ Chicago
1:00 PM FOX
11 Sun, Nov 17
  • @ Pittsburgh
1:00 PM FOX
12 Sun, Nov 24
  • vs Tampa Bay
1:00 PM FOX
13 Thu, Nov 28
  • vs Green Bay
12:30 PM FOX
14 Sun, Dec 8
  • @ Philadelphia
1:00 PM FOX
15 Mon, Dec 16
  • vs Baltimore
8:30 PM ESPN
16 Sun, Dec 22
  • vs NY Giants
4:05 PM FOX
17 Sun, Dec 29
  • @ Minnesota
1:00 PM FOX