Restored Roar: A Week 1 Preview

By SBRForum.com

 

The Detroit Lions made the playoffs last year for the first time in over a decade. Sunday they begin an attempt to take the next step, which would be to make the playoffs again and get past the Wild-Card round, when they host the St. Louis Rams (1 pm Eastern, Fox).

 

A Quick Review

 

Detroit went 10-6 last year, earning an NFC Wild-Card berth, then lost at New Orleans 45-28 in its first playoff game since 1999. Now, coming into this season we know the Lions will move the ball again, with QB Matt Stafford and WR Calvin Johnson comprising one of the most dangerous passing combos in football. But have the Lions done enough to address their problems with the running game, which ranked 29th in the league last year (95 YPG), and on defense, after ranking 23rd both overall (368 YPG) and vs. the run (128 YPG)?

 

St. Louis, meanwhile, went a disappointing 2-14 last year, then replaced Coach Spagnuola with former Titans HC Jeff Fisher. So the Rams, on their fifth head coach in the last eight seasons, are once again learning new systems under a new regime.

 

How is a young QB like Sam Bradford supposed to make progress playing under a new coach and new OC every stinkin' season?

 

Lions vs. Rams: The Most Recent Meeting

 

These two teams last met two seasons ago, when Detroit, quarterbacked by Shaun Hill, punked St. Louis 44-6. The Rams actually outrushed and outgained the Lions that day, but committed three turnovers to none for Detroit. The Lions also scored on a kick-off return and an interception return.

 

Lions vs. Rams: It's Bettin' Time

 

As of last last week many online sportsbooks were listing Detroit Lions at -9 on their Week 1 NFL odds boards, with an 'over/under' of 46.5. And while the total has held steady, the line has dropped to eight at most NFL betting outlets.

 

The Lions went 2-1 ATS last year when favored by a touchdown or more, while the Rams went 2-6-1 ATS last year when getting a touchdown or more.

 

Finally, Detroit went 10-6 on the totals last year, as Lions games averaged 54 points, third-most in the league. Meanwhile, St. Louis went 6-9-1 on the totals last season, as Rams games averaged 37.5 points, fifth-fewest in the league.