Lots of football coaches come into a situation and talk about “changing the culture.” Some of them succeed; most do not. Matt Patricia appears to be on his way to changing the attitude, not to mention the style, of his Detroit Lions, who have already faced down some pretty good teams are come away looking very credible.
And now the Lions are angling for the NFC North lead as they take on the Green Bay Packers in the Monday night game that is scheduled to begin at 8:15 PM ET at Lambeau Field. This is televised by ESPN, and while BetAnySports customers are watching, they can place wagers in real time with Live Betting Ultra.
So what has this Lions season been characterized by? Well, for one thing, it’s the willingness to run the football more than other teams in the recent past, who have relied extensively (and we mean that) on the arm of Matthew Stafford. Right now, the numbers show 141 passing plays and 123 runs, and that is the kind of balance Patricia was looking for when he came over form New England, where he was the defensive coordinator.
Patricia is fighting a couple of things here: the stigma of a franchise that has never done well enough in the post-season to go very far (well, at least in the post-Bobby Layne era) and the idea that Bill Belichick’s former assistants aren’t exactly sprinkling magic dust all over the place when they take a head coaching job.
Stafford’s numbers have him on pace for a season where he would surpass 4000 yards through the air, and he is, after all, averaging eight yards per attempt. But what is probably just as important to Patricia and his staff is the fact that he has been able to cut down on the negative plays, with two interceptions and seven sacks (which isn’t bad), which are impacted by the fact that even though the Lions aren’t necessarily gobbling up huge chunks of yardage when they run the ball (just 3.9 yards a carry), they are ready, willing and able to do it at any opportunity, which means that opposing defensive linemen can’t just pin their ears back and come after Stafford.
In the NFL Monday Night Football betting odds posted on this game (with reduced juice at BetAnySports, the Packers are laying points at home:
Green Bay Packers -3.5 (-105)
Detroit Lions +3.5 (-105)
Over 45.5 points (-105)
Under 45.5 points (-105)
In 2015, 2017 and 2018 the Lions came to Lambeau Field and won. Okay, we’re going to grant you that the Packers rally didn’t have Rodgers for two of those games, but it was an important bridge for Detroit to cross, because they had gone through a stretch of 24 years without a victory in Green Bay.
There was certainly nothing wrong with Green Bay’s offensive effort last week against Dallas. Aaron Rodgers wasn’t overwhelming, but the Packers took advantage of a lot of turnovers and mental mistakes on the way to a win. Rodgers had 238 passing yards, but the real standout was Aaron Jones, who ran for 107 yards, caught passes for 75 more and scored four touchdowns. Even so, he is still averaging less than four yards per run and eight yards per reception. And prior to that game at AT&T Stadium he had been a question mark for his production. So the question is whether he can duplicate that kind of effort.
And it’s a reasonable question because Green Bay actually allowed Dallas to go up and down the field (563 yards, 32 first downs) and mount a comeback effort. The Packers haven’t been stiff against the run (allowing 5.2 ypc) and while this won’t necessary permit the Lions to run wild, they should be able to at least function with it as a threat.
The injury absence of Davante Adams is not sustainable, not from our perspective, and Detroit won’t sweat Rodgers terribly after facing Philip Rivers, Carson Wentz and Patrick Mahomes already (oh, not to mention #1 overall pick Kyrie Murray). We’re on the take here.
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