Los Angeles Rams (3-2 SU, 3-2 ATS) vs. Detroit Lions (2-3 SU, 2-3 ATS)
NFL Week 6
Date/Time: Sunday, October 16, 2016 at 1PM EST
Where: Ford Field, Detroit, Michigan
by Scott, Expert Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: LA +3/DET -3
Over/Under Total: 43.5
On Sunday in week 6, the Los Angeles Rams come to Ford Field to face the Detroit Lions. The Rams saw their three-game winning streak come to an end at home this past Sunday against the surging Buffalo Bills, 30-19. They look to resume their winning ways against a Detroit team that ended its three-game losing streak with a nice win over the unbeaten Eagles on Sunday. At 2-3, they are one home away from being at .500.
Things had definitely gotten sideways for the Lions in their three-game losing streak. After winning 6 of 8 last year to end the season and opening with a week one shootout win over the Colts, the Lions were on the way up, only to see it come crashing down with three straight losses. Against the Eagles, they were facing an unbeaten team that had the lead and looked to be running out the clock late. Darius Slay, the high-priced corner, sprung into action, first forcing a fumble from Philly RB Ryan Mathews, before making a fantastic interception of Carson Wentz to stop their last scoring attempt.
The Detroit defense finally was able to create something positive to contribute to the team effort. And that can go a long way having a defense making plays. It’s been a rough patch for the Lions defense. Injuries and poor play had rendered them a team hindrance. Despite missing key cogs to the wheel like DeAndre Levy, Haloti Ngata, Ziggy Ansah, and others, they were able to snatch a win from the jaws of defeat. With guys like Slay stepping up, some hope was offered on Sunday. And just the fact that they did something to buck the role of loser late in a game that looked almost hopeless says a lot about their character. The way they reacted to the win shows it meant a lot to them.
The Detroit offense isn’t always electric, but Matthew Stafford was resourceful on Sunday, parlaying a so-so 180 passing yards into three TD throws. The run-game isn’t that good and took another step back with the injury of Ameer Abdullah. Theo Reddick adds some on the ground, while also catching two TD throws on Sunday. Marvin Jones was not as prolific as in previous games, but was still solid with a TD grab. Golden Tate came alive with some key late catches. The offense is hoping to get TE Eric Ebron and RB Dwayne Washington back this week after missing time.
Detroit has shown the ability to have their results flip on a dime. Before winning 6 of 8 last season, they looked like the worst team in the NFL—a dysfunctional bunch that had the kinds of problems that don’t get fixed that easily. And after losing three in a row and looking awful doing it, they were able to beat an undefeated team this past Sunday. With the Lions, looking at their recent form can sometimes send bettors in the wrong direction.
If after the Rams lost in week one 28-0 to the Niners , who have since gone winless, you said they would win 3 of their next 4 games, they’d have likely taken that deal. What was working during their three game win streak was not evident on Sunday in an 11-point loss to Buffalo at home. Case Keenum threw two picks, one of which was returned for a TD, as he was generally off-the-mark. The supposed explosion of second-year back Todd Gurley hasn’t manifested, despite him running in a score on Sunday.
The Rams need their defense to shine. The shining light on that unit is a fierce line and other than Aaron Donald, all those guys were out of action on Sunday and it’s no coincidence that LeSean McCoy was able to run for 150 yards against the patched-together Rams’ front. The line sets the tone and without them at their best, the whole “D” seemed very so-so and not able to make an impact with no turnovers or real big plays to speak of. With the offense sputtering, that’s not going to work for the Rams. Fortunately, none of the key injuries on the line are serious and the front should be close to intact this week.
The Rams’ offense has a tendency to be pretty flat. Other than Gurley, there are no stars on this group and Gurley’s star hasn’t really shined this season. In the red-zone, they’re often times groping for answers. You see a pass-catching crew of guys like Tavon Austin, Kenny Britt, Brian Quick, and others and it fails to elicit optimism. Defenses can hone in on Gurley and force Keenum to make it work with these other guys. At the same time, this is the same offense of the team that just won three straight. But to manage one lone TD in two games at home underlines their limitations on this side of the ball.
The Lions are nice and situated at home after beating Philly there last week. LA, meanwhile, has to drag themselves up after a punishing loss to Buffalo and come into Ford Field in Detroit. It’s a tricky road spot for the Rams. After getting to 3-1 through sheer effort, to fall to .500 this week would be a step back. And for the Lions, avoiding a 2-4 start would figure to provide ample motivation. The trail splits this week and we’ll see which team can take the right path. I see the Detroit “D” holding their own, as their greater flair offensively carries them to the win and cover.
Scott's Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I’m betting on the Detroit Lions minus 3 points.
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