It’s official, the Detroit Lions will host the Los Angeles Rams in the Wild Card round of the 2023-24 NFL playoffs. The folks over at DraftKings have set the opening betting line at Lions -3, with the moneyline settled at Lions -175 and Rams +145, with the over/under line set at 52 points.
Note: the line started at Lions -5, but has worked its way down two points since the schedule dropped.
The over/under line is the largest of all the playoff games this weekend, and it makes sense, as most are expecting this game to be a potential shootout. The Rams' biggest strength is their passing attack (10th in DVOA heading into Week 18), which lines up opposite the Lions' biggest weakness, their passing defense (16th). And the Rams are very capable of putting up points in bunches.
But the Lions have several advantages of their own and definitely have the offensive skill players to match point totals. And when it comes to DVOA matchups, Detroit is favored in the other point-scoring categories:
- Lions rushing offense (fourth) vs. Rams rushing defense (20th)
- Lions passing offense (ninth) vs. Rams pass defense (22nd)
- Lions special teams (19th) vs. Rams special teams (32nd)
Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford may end up throwing for a ton of yards against the Lions, but if you look at the Rams' most recent performances—throw out Week 18 against the 49ers because of all the backups playing—and you’ll see the opposing quarterbacks were also putting up equally efficient numbers.
Against the Giants, Stafford threw for 317 yards, a touchdown, and two interceptions, while New York started backup Tyrod Taylor, who threw for 319 yards a touchdown, and an interception. The week before Stafford threw for 328 yards and two scores, while Saints’ Derek Carr registered 319 passing yards, three touchdowns, and an interception.
The Rams are content to go into a shootout because they’ve been winning those games recently. But the Lions are also very comfortable operating in a shootout.
Since their bye week, in the six games the Lions have won, they have scored at least 30 points, while in the three games they lost, they scored less than 23 points. In their most recent game against the Vikings, the Lions offense seemed to simply be going through the motions of the game, yet, they still dropped 30 points on Minnesota’s eighth-ranked DVOA defense—their second time scoring 30 against the Vikings in the past three weeks.
The NFL and its fans love offense and there should be plenty of it in this game—that’s why this game was put in the premier “Sunday Night Football” spot.