Are the Detroit Lions hot right now? They’re coming off two wins in a row over divisional rivals and things seem to be fun again. Not to mention, the Lions seem to be getting healthy at the right time. Both DJ Chark and Romeo Okwara returned to practice Wednesday. Can the Lions go on a run? Is this real?
Well, this Sunday the Lions get a major opportunity to prove whether or not they're real when they take on a New York Giants team that also may or may not be for real themselves. At least in the Giants case, they have a great record to lay out a better case.
The Giants are a team that nobody seems to get. Maybe it’s because they were pretty bad recently. We needed to know more. So we reached out to Ed Valentine of Big Blue View to get the scoop. Here’s what he had to say:
1. I’m sure you’ve got this one already, but are the Giant a for real?
“Yes, they are for real. I don’t think you get to 7-2 with victories over the Titans, Packers, and Ravens without being for real. Now, are they a great team? No. Not close. They are a limited team which has shown a narrow lane to victory over the first nine games. Control the pace of the game, run the football, play quality defense, capitalize on opponents’ mistakes, and do just enough offensively to win. Can they win games when teams force them out of that comfort zone, or when opponents don’t make the mistakes the Giants have feasted on? That’s what we don’t know.”
2. How can the Lions beat the Giants?
“Well, the first thing is don’t turn the ball over and don’t miss opportunities. NFL games are LOST more often than they are WON, and in each of the Giants’ seven victories I could probably point to how the Giants’ opponents lost those games. The second thing is, get a lead and try to make this a game that challenges the Giants to play a wide open offensive game. The Giants have not scored more than 27 points in a game this year. Nor have they given up more than 27. If you can get this game into the 30s and force the Giants out of their run as often as possible comfort zone and make them attack with the passing game, that’s kind of uncharted territory for New York.”
3. Who’s the under the radar player to watch for?
“That’s tough. The Giants have gotten solid play from a number of guys who weren’t even on the team when the season started — CB Fabian Moreau, LB Jaylon Smith, OT Tyre Phillips, S Jason Pinnock, CB Nick McCloud, and a host of others.
The guy I will go with is wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson. He was the Giants’ second-round pick, and he missed four games early in the season with an MCL sprain. He only has 14 receptions for an average of 9.1 yards per catch and one touchdown.
I keep expecting him to see the ball come his way a lot more. In fact, if the Giants are going to keep up in games that become faster-paced or more high-scoring, I think he is going to have to get the ball a lot more often.”
4. Right now the line is Giants -4. Are you taking that bet? [Update: since sending these questions the line on DraftKings Sportsbook has dropped to Giants by 3]
“As I am answering these questions, the line I see from DraftKings is -3. That’s a tough line for me. Every Giants game this season except a 14-point loss to Seattle has been a one-score game, and the Seattle game was tied with 11 minutes to play. I’m not sure I would touch that line. The over/under is 46.5 [Update: that is down to 45]. That’s another tough number. Only one Giants game all season has topped 46 points total. I always say bet the under on Giants games, but if the Lions play well on offense they might drag the Giants into the type of game they don’t really want to be in.”
5. Who’s winning this thing?
“I’m taking the Giants. I think they are the better team, though not overwhelmingly so. They are at home. They have a solid shot at the playoffs, and they need this game. They have made a habit of winning close games.
I am, though, admittedly nervous about this one. Detroit has four games this season of 31 or more points. The Giants haven’t reached the 30-point mark in 37 games. If the Lions force the Giants to score to keep pace, can they do that? I don’t know.”