They say you can’t go home, but if Matt Patricia could he would definitely consider it. The start to Patricia’s head coaching career has been a train wreck and the Detroit Lions seek to avoid a 0-3 start when the New England Patriots visit for a Week 3 Sunday Night Football tilt. Patricia never had a losing season during his 14 years as an assistant on Bill Belichick’s staff in New England, but the Lions are scuffling out of the chute. At least they looked better last week in a loss to the 49ers. They couldn’t look much worse than they did in their opener.
This matchup in Week 3 of the regular season will take place on Sunday, September 23, 2018, at 8:20 p.m. ET at Ford Field.
NFL Opening Odds at BookMaker.eu
New England Patriots -6.5
Detroit Lions +6.5
The line opened at New England -6.5 and hasn’t moved, but there is still time. The Pats are getting plenty of early play which means we will some shifting before kickoff. The Lions played a more inspired game last week and they will be amped for a showdown with the AFC champs, and Patricia’s former team. The over is getting 80 percent of the early action on a total that opened at 50, forcing a spike to its current 52.
Patrick Chung – New England’s starting safety was concussed following a collision with a Jacksonville player. Chung the exited the game momentarily, but returned to finish the first half. He was in coverage on a Jags’ touchdown pass just before halftime and didn’t take the field in the second half. Not only are the Pats down their most reliable defensive back, they are also being investigated for the way the situation was handled.
Darius Slay – The Lions secondary just opened up for Tom Brady if Big Play is out. Slay suffered a concussion in the Niners game and exited early in the third quarter. Slay was also examined for a head injury in the opener, but was cleared to return to that game. He’s likely to miss some action after not getting cleared last week.
Player to Watch
After Blake Bortles and the Jags shredded the Pats secondary in a convincing win last week, Matthew Stafford will be the key to getting the Lions their first victory. Considered the weak link in Jacksonville’s offense, Bortles enjoyed the best game of his career throwing for 377 yards and four touchdowns. The Pats couldn’t generate pressure, failing to record a sack, and their coverage was questionable.
After getting embarrassed by the Jets in their opener, it would have been easy for the Lions to fold when they trailed the Niners 30-13 early in the fourth quarter. Behind Stafford they showed signs of life and nearly pulled off the comeback. Two of Stafford’s three scoring passes came later in the final quarter and he finished the day with 347 yards on 34 of 53 passing. And he didn’t throw a pick. With Chung and Trey Flowers going through the concussion protocol, the Pats could be without two of their top defenders.
We don’t usually see the Patriots play a bad game, let alone two in a row. So the pressure is really going to be on Patricia and the Lions. If there is one key to the game it’s that the Lions coach should be very familiar with New England’s plan and schemes since he spent the previous 14 seasons on that side winning three Super Bowl titles. But credit Belichick for making the proper adjustments throughout his career, and the Lions will certainly face something Patricia hasn’t seen from them.
Free ATS Pick
It’s rare to see the Pats play as poorly as they did in Jacksonville. Hell, even Brady was fired up at his teammates on the sideline. So don’t expect a repeat performance. There is an intriguing element to this game with Patricia being a Pats assistant for so many years, and as badly as he wants to beat his former team, Belichick doesn’t want to lose just as much.
Some key defenders for both sides could be out and with both QB’s looking sharp, the over is the popular choice. The Lions will hang close, but Brady and Co. will regroup after last week’s disaster to get the victory.
NFL Betting Odds: Patriots 30, Lions 26
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