Detroit Lions vs. St. Louis Rams
The Detroit Lions and the St. Louis Rams kick off their 2012 NFL seasons as they meet on Sunday at Ford Field. The Lions are -9 point favorites over the Rams with an over/under point total set at 46.5.
The Detroit Lions have gone from a steady trend of drafting in the first five picks of the NFL draft to the playoffs and now they are looking to take it to the next level. As we saw last season the big key to the success of the Lions is to keep QB Matthew Stafford healthy as he completed the season last year and put up huge numbers. Calvin Johnson is perhaps the best receiver in the NFL and with Titus Young emerging and Ryan Broyles in the fold the entire unit is improving along with the strong pass catching ability of tight end Brandon Pettigrew. Where Detroit is missing a piece is at running back where Kevin Smith is back with the team and starting again, something he wasn’t good enough to do the first time around. Defensively the Lions are tough but they were involved in some shootouts including in thhe playoffs against the Saints where they allowed points in bunches. Cliff Avril was given the franchise tag and while Ndamukong Suh is one of the more controversial players in the game he is also one of the best. Stephen Tullock and DeAndre Levy are solid at linebacker. The secondary gave up some big plays last year and Chris Houston and Jacob Lacey are being counted on at the corners while Louis Delmas isn’t shy about lowering the shoulder. The Lions have a lot of the pieces in place, it is just a matter if they have enough of them.
The St. Louis Rams are looking to do what the Lions have done, get out of drafting high and get back to being a playoff team and a contender and their first order of business was hiring Head Coach Jeff Fisher. The Rams also had a decision to make in the NFL draft and the decision they made was to stick with QB Sam Bradford who has never had much to work with in St. Louis. The Rams also set out to find the heir apparent to Steven Jackson at running back who will still see the bulk of the action though Isaiah Pead may be the future. The Rams didn’t improve much at receiver where Brandon Gibson and Danny Amedola are the starters and they still have to build a solid offensive line. The Rams have significantly upgraded their defense and it could pay dividends right away. The defensive line is young and talented with Chris Long, Robert Quinn, and Michael Brockers. James Laurinaitis has proved to be a solid MLB while the additions of Rocky McIntosh and Jo-Lonn Dunbar should be felt immediately. The Rams could have gotten the steal of the draft in CB Janoris Jenkins and with Cortland Finnegan and Quintin Mikell the secondary is upgraded from a year ago. The Rams look to be headed in the right direction, it just is a matter of how long it takes them to turn it around.
Detroit is 7-2 against the spread in their last nine season openers, 1-5-1 against the spread in their last seven games overall, and 0-5 against the spread in their last five games against NFC teams. St. Louis is 2-11 against the spread in their last 13 games against NFC teams, 5-15-1 against the spread in their last 21 games overall, and 1-9 against the spread in their last 10 road games.
The total in this one is set at 46.5 and I see it coming in under that number as in week one teams tend to play it closer to the vest and despite two strong armed QB’s we have two defenses which should be very good this year.