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Lions notes: Analytics like Detroit’s chances at an upset in Green Bay

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The data is showing there’s a chance...

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Detroit Lions v Green Bay Packers Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

The Detroit Lions are now just four-point underdogs after the Green Bay Packers opened the week as six-point favorites. There appears to be a little faith among bettors that Detroit has a chance to pull off a big Week 6 upset on “Monday Night Football.”

But they aren’t the only ones thinking Detroit may have a chance at a key division win. NFL Network’s Analytics Expert Cynthia Frelund explained why she thinks the Lions are a sleeper team to win in Lambeau.

“Don’t sleep on the Detroit Lions,” Frelund states at the beginning of her TV spot. “Their vertical passing game and then stopping the vertical passing game has totally changed this season.”

Her analytics evidence? Big play stats. According to Frelund, the Lions were the first team ever to hold Patrick Mahomes without at 20+ air-yards pass in a single game. As for their offense, she points out what we’ve mentioned several times now: the Lions’ big play ball is back.

“Stafford’s air-yards-per-attempt average has gone from 7.0 in 2018 (ranking 31st among qualifying QBs) to 11.1 (first) this season,” Frelund wrote.

That all being said, she stopped just short of saying the Lions will come out of Week 6 with the win.

“Now I’m not going to say that they’re going to necessarily win this game, but they’re going to keep it close, because of their defense’s ability to stop deep passes,” Frelund said.

That should obviously help against a Packers offense that still likes to air it out, despite their increased focus on the run game. Though Aaron Rodgers ranks just 22nd in intended average air yards this year, the Packers have still completed four passing plays of 40+ yards (t-sixth).

  • The XFL announced another batch of players that will be entering this week’s inaugural draft. More former Lions players include Devin Taylor, Mohammed Seisay, George Johnson, Khaseem Greene, Brandon Barnes, and Josh Fatu.

  • Detroit still ranks just 24th in PFF’s Week 6 power rankings, though the analytics site mentions that their low ranking is likely due to their formula’s use of last year’s data.

  • Want to relive some of the magic from the first four games of the season? The Lions’ YouTube page has every touchdown the team has scored thus far: