Washington Football Team vs. Detroit Lions Pick ATS
Washington Football Team (2-6 SU, 4-4 ATS) vs. Detroit Lions (3-5 SU, 3-5 ATS)
Week 10 NFL
Date/Time: Sunday, November 15, 2020 at 1PM EST
Where: Ford Field, Detroit, Michigan
Point Spread: WAS +3.5/DET -3.5 (SportsBetting.ag)
Over/Under Total: 46
Washington comes to Ford Field on Sunday to take on the Detroit Lions in NFC action in week ten. Neither team was able to come up with the win on Sunday. Detroit dropped their second in a row, more resembling the Lions we know, losing to the Vikings, 34-20. It was an ugly game on both sides of the ball, as they now host Washington, hoping this week will make it better. Washington lost to the Giants on Sunday, 23-20, rallying late with resurgent Alex Smith, before falling just short. Who will cover the spread this week in the Motor City?
The Alex Smith Factor
After finally making his way back onto the field after a horrific leg injury a few weeks ago, Smith was again jettisoned into action on Sunday, with Kyle Allen being carted off with an injury. And unlike his first appearance, where they had him on a tight leash, they turned him loose on Sunday, and Smith was able to show some of his old fire, throwing for 325 yards and giving the offense a definite spurt of energy. He did throw three picks, which spoiled what likely would have been a big comeback win for Smith and the team.
Still, one could see Smith lend more vitality to a Washington offense that has struggled this season in putting up points and sustaining drives. They rank near the bottom in all offensive categories that count. And whether or not Smith becomes a viable NFL starter is another issue, but to have a Cinderella story developing and based on the aerial acuity, he displayed on Sunday, that all adds up to good things for an offense that hasn’t had a lot to be excited about this season. But there are weapons, and on Sunday, number-one receiver Terry McLaurin and Cam Sims were both over 100 yards. They have some interesting personnel in the aerial corps that Smith took advantage of on Sunday, and though the line isn’t very good and they haven’t been able to create much of a run-game, Smith gives them a little something they didn’t have before.
Can Detroit Get it Together?
After getting to 3-3, there were at least hints that the long-suffering Lions had gotten close to getting on the right track. A lopsided home loss to the Colts coming off the bye suggested otherwise, as did their non-competitive loss to a 2-5 Vikings’ team on Sunday. It was a rough personal week for Matthew Stafford leading up to game-time, and he was taken out of the game with a possible concussion, though he was later cleared. He threw two picks, and though he was connecting nicely with Danny Amendola, Marvin Jones, and TJ Hockenson, the absence of top receiver Kenny Golladay (out) was palpable, and Stafford’s miscues more or less sealed the Lions’ fate.
On top of an offense that is on some weeks and off others is a defense that isn’t getting better. It isn’t all their fault, with an inordinate number of injuries befalling whatever best-case scenario the Lions had in mind. With 75 points allowed in their last two games, they’ve been even more-porous than normal, particularly against the run. Granted, Washington probably won’t pelt Detroit with the run-game like Dalvin Cook and Company did last week. Detroit’s playmaking ability on this side of the ball could manifest if Smith is again errant, but it’s not a pretty picture. Injuries aside, it’s turning into an ugly season for Detroit. Blown leads turned wins into losses. They fought their way back with a few wins, but to come off the bye with two clunkers is a damning indictment on this team.
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Is the Washington Pass Defense for Real?
Even with Golladay’s status still being iffy, Stafford and his weapons will test a Washington secondary that has been really legit through a half-season. Despite having played some quarterbacks prone to putting up big numbers, Washington is yielding a very respectable 185.6 yards per game. They aren’t great against the run, and this is where Detroit’s deep backfield rotation could take hold. But what exists on paper for the Detroit run-game doesn’t always manifest on the field. Stafford just might be up against it. Then again, going against the troubled NFC East and some other offenses that weren’t really peaking at the time they played them, perhaps Washington being the top-ranked passing defense is at least somewhat of an aberration with all respect to the fine play of DeShazor Everett, Ronald Darby, Kendall Fuller, Kamren Curl, and others.
The Lions are probably starting to see the writing on the wall. Falling to 3-5 is tantamount to an alarm sounding that says it’s getting critical. They were optimistic a few weeks ago and land in this spot with somewhat of a thud. Not that Washington is flying high at 2-6 coming off a loss, but however crazy it sounds, they’re still in it in the dysfunctional NFC East. The Smith factor and the hopefulness of his performance and the rest of the offense last week offers a little hope, as well.
Take the Road Dog
Neither of these teams are bankable, even in this context. The Lions being at home doesn’t offer a ton of comfort, being that they are winless so far this season at Ford Field. At the same time, taking this Washington team on the road doesn’t provide the most-comfortable feeling either. And if either team were more likely to win by 21 points in a lopsided game that isn’t coming down to the end, it might be Detroit. I just see Washington as being in a spot where they can be competitive, leaning on their defense a little, while maybe getting a little magic from Alex Smith. I’ll take Washington.
Loot’s Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I’m betting on Washington plus 3.5 points.
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