With the Lions (3-1) riding high atop the NFC North and the Panthers (0-4) yet to win a game, the folks over at DraftKings, are favoring Detroit with a Lions -8.5 spread. This is the biggest spread in the Lions’ favor since Week 10 of the 2017 season when Detroit was a 10.5-point favorite over a Cleveland Browns team that would go 0-16. The Lions would go on to easily cover that spread, winning by two touchdowns.
On paper, this may look like a lopsided affair, but it wasn’t too long ago that the Panthers got the best of Detroit. In Week 16 of 2022—with what was later revealed as unsafe field conditions—the Panthers dog-walked the Lions 37-23, rushing for 320 yards on the ground. It was a drubbing—and one the Lions haven’t forgotten about.
When the schedule was released, the Lions media team asked players which team they were most looking forward to facing in 2023, and defensive tackle Alim McNeill’s choice was likely based on getting a chance at redemption.
Outside of that game, the Lions run defense had been performing well at the end of last season, but in 2023, they have taken it up several notches. Currently, the Lions are only allowing an average of 60.8 rushing yards through four games—that’s the best average in the NFL.
Expect the Lions defense to be focused and ready to make a statement in this game.