Detroit Lions (0-0) at Indianapolis Colts (0-0)
Sunday, September 11, 2016; 4:25 PM ET
Detroit Lions +3.5; Over/Under 51.5 Click to Get Latest Betting Odds
Over at Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday, September 11, the Detroit Lions will travel to face the Indianapolis Colts as both teams open up their NFL schedules in Week 1.
After a bumbling start to the 2015 season, the Lions were able to finish the second half of the year 6-2 on the way to a 7-9 overall record and third place in the NFC North.
The big story on offense for Detroit this off-season was the retirement of Calvin Johnson, who had served as a constant presence for the Lions and undoubtedly the team’s best receiver. QB Matthew Stafford will certainly miss Johnson; Stafford posted 4.262 yards and 32 touchdowns last season and will be hard-pressed to equal those numbers this year. The new lead targets include Golden Tate (90 receptions; 813 yards in 2015) and TE Eric Ebron (47 receptions; 537 yards in 2015), but no one will come close to filling the hole that Johnson left when he decided to retire.
The Lions had a pretty rough time on defense last year as well. With 349.6 total YPG allowed and 25 PPG allowed on average, Detroit certainly has room for improvement. The 41 percent third down conversion rate for their opponents is pretty ugly as well.
Meanwhile, the Colts head into 2016 off a pretty disappointing campaign. The team finished just 8-8 and second in the AFC South, which was an odd position to see them in after beating up on the division for several years prior.
Indianapolis will once again look to QB Andrew Luck, who is coming off a 1,881-yard season with 15 touchdowns and 12 interceptions—certainly not his best work when Luck was out there. The main target here will be TY Hilton, who bagged 1,124 yards off 69 receptions last year, but we should also see plenty of Donte Moncreif, who secured 733 yards and six touchdowns in 2015. Dwayne Allen should also step up at TE, now that he has no more competition for targets from the departed Coby Fleener.
Like Detroit, the Colts had some rough times on defense last season. Indianapolis allowed 379.1 YPG in 2015, including a sketchy 257.1 YPG through the air. The Colts also allowed 25.5 points per game and a third-down conversion percentage of 39.2 overall.
The Lions are 4-1 ATS in their last five games on fieldturf, and 6-2 ATS in their last eight games overall. Detroit is also 9-4 ATS in their last 13 games in Week 1, and the under is 4-0 in their last four games on fieldturf.
As for the Colts, they’re 4-1 ATS in their last five games on field turf, and 25-10-1 ATS in their last 36 home games. Indianapolis is also 1-7 ATS in their last eight games in Week 1, and the Under is 8-3 in their last 11 games in Week 1.
I can’t imagine what the Lions’ offense will look like without Calvin Johnson, but it can’t be good. This game will likely feature a lot of mistakes from Detroit, as the new crew tries to get on the same page. I’m taking the more seasoned Colts offense to drive them to a win and cover.