Detroit Lions (1-3 SU, 0-4 ATS) vs. Philadelphia Eagles (3-2 SU, 1-3-1 ATS)
NFL Week 6
Date/Time: Sunday, October 14th, 2012/1:00 p.m. EST
Where: Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Pa.
TV: Fox Network/DirecTV 706
by Badger, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Det +4.5/PHI -4.5
Over/Under Total: 47.5
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The Detroit Lions are rested and ready to try and climb out of the NFC North cellar, but the task at hand is a big one this Sunday when they travel to Lincoln Financial Field to take on the Philadelphia Eagles in an all-NFC week six duel on Fox.
The Lions limped into their bye week last Sunday with their third loss in a row, a 20-13 decision at home to the division rival Minnesota Vikings. With quarterback Matthew Stafford a little dinged up going into the Vikings game, the bye week came at the perfect time for the Lions. Now that they are healed up a little, this is thee week for the Lions to double down and get another notch in the win column before their season slips away.
This will be the second week in a row that the Eagles will be playing a team with a lot of motivation to win. Last week they dropped a heartbreaker to the Pittsburgh Steelers, 16-14, in what amounted to a “must win” game for the Steelers. Once again, turnovers by QB Michael Vick killed the Eagles chances, as his two fumbles (one of them on the Steelers 1-yards line) proved to be fatal, although the offense was stuck in neutral for most of the game by the Steelers defense (only 246 total yards).
With both of these teams expected to be in the NFC playoff hunt until late in the season, Sunday’s contest will have a playoff atmosphere hanging around as the Lions try and get back into the chase and the Eagles try and clean up their (habitual) mistakes in time for a midseason push.
STOP WASTING MONEY! STOP LAYING -110 ODDS; START LAYING
ONLY -105 AT THE WEB’S BEST SPORTSBOOK: 5DIMES
A few of the offshore sportsbooks originally opened this game with the Eagles as high as 6-point favorites at home, but with a flood of money pouring in on the Lions almost as soon as they posted the number, the point spread has dropped all the way to Philly minus -4.5 at most books and properties out in Las Vegas.
The over/under total opened at 48 and can still be found at that number at a few of the offshore sportsbooks, but a large majority of books have adjusted the total down the hook to make it 47.5.
On paper both of these offenses should be among the elite in the NFL, but right now that’s not the case.
The Eagles just can’t seem to stop shooting themselves in the feet. They’re 11th in the league in yardage (383 ypg), with surprising balance between the run (132 ypg -10th) and pass (251 ypg - 13th), which hasn’t always been the case with coach Andy Reid calling the plays. But a constant flood of turnovers, mostly by Vick, has crushed the Eagles offense as they are 31st in the league in scoring with only 16 points per game.
Some of the turnover issues can be attributed to the Eagles injuries along the offensive line (LT King Dunlap is expected back this week), but protecting the ball has been Vick’s Achilles heel all season and it might not get better this week going against the Lions front four led by the always angry Ndamukong Suh. The good news is that the Lions defense is having some issues in their secondary, as they’ve allowed a plethora of big plays (allowing 28.5 ppg - 26th) and have yet to intercept a pass this season.
Detroit has had it’s own problems on offense, with most of them coming because of a lack of run-pass balance. The Lions and Stafford are 2nd in passing yards (322 ypg), but 24th in rushing (90 ypg), which has led to defenses teeing off on Stafford and knocking him around like a pinball. The return of running back Mikel LeShoure from suspension has helped the Lions run game a little, but it might be hard to improve those numbers this week against an Eagles defense that only allows 100 yards a game (12th).
These two teams have met six times since 1986, with Philly winning all of them but the one game back in ’86 (Det. won 13-11). The last meeting was in 2010, a 35-32 shootout won by the Eagles in the Motor City that featured over 850 yards of total offense. The Lions covered in that game as 6.5-point underdogs, but overall the Eagles own a 4-2 ATS advantage in the series including a perfect 3-0 SU and ATS record in the three games played in Philly.
This won’t be much of a surprise to most bettors, but the Lions have been a terrible wager the past few seasons. Not only are they 3-12-1 ATS in their last 16 games overall, but they are 1-11 ATS in their last 12 vs. an NFC team, 0-8-1 ATS vs. teams with winning records and 0-6-1 ATS in their last seven road games. Philly hasn’t exactly set the betting world on fire either, going 3-9-1 ATS in their last 13 home games.
Badger’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: The weather isn’t expected to be bad, so the fact the Lions are a dome team won’t be as much of a factor this week. Even still, the Lions are one-dimensional on offense against a solid Philly defense. Plus, the line movement has gone several points in the direction of Detroit, as everyone jumps off the Vick and the Eagles bandwagon again. When everyone jumps off is the time to get on. I’m taking the Eagles minus the 4.5 points.
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