NFL Betting Editorial: Why Have the Lions Fallen Apart?
Last year, the Detroit Lions were one of the pleasant surprises in the league, stunning NFL betting fans after qualifying for a wild card position and pushing Dallas to the limit in the wild card round of the playoffs back in January. However, every season sees an NFL team shock everyone by collapsing, and this year’s example has to be the Lions, who are the only team in the league still waiting for a win.
— Detroit Lions (@Lions) October 14, 2015
There are few things as sad as a team that has sky-high expectations seeing them turn into the joke of the league even before the leaves start to turn. However, when the Lions hosted the Arizona Cardinals in Week 5, it was clear that this was the case.
Detroit entered the game with an 0-4 record, but that seemed a little deceptive.
They had just lost 13-9 on Monday night, thanks in large part to a missed call by the officials. Calvin Johnson had fumbled the ball near the goal line, and one of the Seahawks illegally batted the ball out of the end zone. The referees missed that penalty and granted the Seahawks a touchback, when the Lions should have had the ball on the half-yard line. So Seattle ran the clock out instead of the Lions scoring a touchdown.
So there was some reason to believe that the Lions might buck up and play a strong game against Arizona. However, on the third play of the game, the Lions had already burned a timeout, and Matthew Stafford threw a duck on third-and-2 that got picked off, and the offense slouched its way off the field, already hearing some boos. The next series, Ameer Abdullah lost a fumble in Arizona territory. He would fumble again on a kick return and got sent to the pine in favor of Zach Zenner. The boos got their loudest around the time when Golden Tate fumbled in the second quarter and the Cardinals scored three plays later to stretch their lead to 28-7.
The second half didn’t begin any more favorably. Stafford threw his third interception of the day on the first drive, and it only took Arizona five plays to make the score 35-7. At this point, the crowd stopped booing, realizing that they were headed to yet another defeat. Stafford joined Abdullah on the pine, replaced by Dan Orlovsky, who makes the Cowboys’ Brandon Weeden look like a terrific backup quarterback. However, two of Stafford’s three interceptions weren’t really his fault. One happened because Cardinals defensive lineman Cory Redding made a terrific read on a screen play. Another was really the fault of Calvin Johnson, who didn’t run the right pattern for the coverage he saw.
Johnson is just one of many skill players (along with Golden Tate, tight end Eric Ebron and Stafford) who are not performing well in the Motor City this year. Stallion already has the tendency to go a little wild, and things have gotten out of control in that area. Many times he has failed to read the field clearly. As struggles build for him, he gets more erratic, and then he ends up just shooting balls into traffic and hoping for the best. It doesn’t help, of course, that the offensive line is neither opening holes for the running game nor protecting him when it’s time to pass. The three-step drops that the plays require don’t get the ball down the field far enough given the fact that the Lions end up with 2nd- and 3rd-and-long with the shoddy running game. So it might all begin and end with the line, but now, the Lions are in big trouble.