San Francisco 49ers (4-1 SU, 4-0-1 ATS) vs. Detroit Lions (5-0 SU, 4-0-1 ATS), 1:00 p.m. EST, NFL Week 7, Sunday, October 16, 2011, Ford Field, Detroit, Michigan, TV: Fox
By Scotty L, Pro Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread:SF +5/DET -5
The San Francisco 49ers head East to take on the Detroit Lions on Sunday. These are two of the NFLs up-and-coming franchises this season. Both teams have been long mired in the dumps and look to have turned it around this year. The Lions are unbeaten at 5-0, with the 49ers standing at 4-1, with their only loss by a field goal. Which team can take another step up on Sunday?
A lot of teams over the years have begun 5-0, only to crash and burn. A 5-game winning streak at the beginning of a season carries a lot more weight than a similar streak in mid-season, but lets not get carried away. One thinks back to the Denver Broncos of a few years agoflying out of the gate at 6-0, only to miss the playoffs and go right down the tubes.
Watching this Detroit team, however, it doesnt seem like they are cut from that cloth. The streak seems legitimatethe result of a genuinely high-quality football team rather than a mediocre squad working with some good momentary mojo. The lions are the real deal, finally able to capitalize from years of favorable draft positions to assemble a top team. For a tfranchise that couldnt do much right in the draft, one had to assume it was only a matter of time before some of those picks panned out well. And they have.
Lions QB Matthew Stafford is averaging nearly 300 yards per game in the air, and has thrown 13 touchdowns against 4 picks, with a QB rating of over 100. RB Jahvid Best, coming off a rocky rookie season, is doing a lot betterincluding a 163-yard performance on Monday night in their win against the Bears. Best also scampered for an 88-yard touchdown run. Added production from the backfield can only help their passing attack, led by all-world wide receiver Calvin Johnson (9 touchdowns).
In San Fran, the major change appears to be head coach Jim Harbaugh, who has proven in his short coaching career that he can get the most out of his horses. The same players who couldnt get into the playoffs for other head coaches now look to be the class of the NFC West. QB Alex Smith has been efficientthrowing only 1 pick in 5 games, while racking up a QB rating of 104.1. Winning 4 of 5 games is hardly cause to break out the bubbly, but it must be encouraging for Niners fans to see their team over-achieving for a change.
On Sunday, San Francisco blew out Tampa Bay 48-3 in a game that left oddsmakers shaking their heads after being off by over 6 touchdowns. RB Frank Gore had his second straight big game after beginning the season slowly. Having balance to their attack has made them ultra-dangerous, as their offense is running very smoothly at the moment. In addition, their defense is now 2ndin the NFL in points allowed and 5th against the rush.
Detroit is 4thin points allowed and boasting of a menacing front-line that will probably become increasingly fierce, with top pick Nick Fairley making his debut on Monday night. Ndamukong Suh gets a lot of attention, freeing up other players. Cornerback Chris Houston has 3 picks. This is a defense with some horses and they are clutch, playing at their best when the situations are most critical.
Detroit is facing a short week after playing on Monday night, but remain at home, so it shouldnt be much of a problem. Both teams, however, may need to fight off a bit of the hangover affect. Detroit probably poured a lot of effort into winning their first Monday Night Football appearance in ages, while the 49ers will need to refocus after posting a 45-point win and having to travel across the country for their next game.
Scotty Ls Pick to Cover the Point Spread:Look for both defenses to show their stuff on Sunday, with the offenses perhaps being a bit flat coming out of the gate. Amazingly, neither team has failed to cover the spread this season, so somebodys O has got to go. Look for a tight game with little to separate the teams. Detroit might get a big play or two late to seal the deal, but a close game looks like the most likeliest of outcomes. The under is 7-0 in these teams last 7 meetings.Take the San Francisco 49ers plus 5 points and the under.
Additional NFL Football Betting Previews