Throughout the offseason, NewYorkJets.com reporters Eric Allen, Ethan Greenberg, Randy Lange, Caroline Hendershot and John Pullano will each give their predictions to a series of questions regarding this year's Jets.
Today's question: Are you surprised the Jets opened the week as a home underdog vs. the Lions?
EA: Yes. The Lions are hotter, having won 5 of 6 games. In that one defeat, Detroit probably had the better of the play against the Bills on Thanksgiving. After a 5-2 start, the Jets have lost 4 of 6by an average of 6 points. But the Lions are 0-3 against AFC East clubs and they're also 2-3 on the road. The Jets are 2-1 against the NFC North this season and they let one slip away in Minnesota. While Detroit has scored 25+ points in five consecutive games for the first time since 1954, QB Jared Goff has thrown for 2 TDs and 4 INTs outside of Detroit compared to 20 TDs and 3 INTs in the Motor City. We'll have to see the status of Jets DT Quinnen Williams and the Lions have an outstanding O-line, but I see the Jets defense rising to the challenge. On the other side of the ball, the Jets should produce against a Lions unit ranked in the bottom 3 in scoring and total and pass defense.
EG: Not particularly because the Vikings were underdogs last week to the Lions as a 10-2 team facing a 5-7 team. Without that tidbit, I would have been surprised. While the Lions, winners of 5 of their last 6 games, are roaring, Detroit isunbalancedstatistically. It has the No. 4 overall offense and the No. 31 defense. The Lions have scored at least 25 points in each of their last five games, but have also struggled against good defenses at times throughout the season. They were scoreless on the road at New England (No. 5 scoring defense) and lost, 24-6 ,to Dallas (No. 3 scoring defense). The Lions' one loss in their last 6 games was to Buffalo (No. 2 scoring defense) despite scoring 25 points. The Jets allow 18.7 points per game, which ranks No. 6 in the NFL. Detroit is hot, but QB Jared Goff has thrown 2 of his 22 touchdowns and 4 of his 7 interceptions on the road. Plus, the Jets are playing better offensively and have a good opportunity to move the ball against a Lions defense that's bottom three in the league in total and passing yards, third down and points allowed.
RL: I tend to think the opening punters favor a team with a hot QB (Jared Goff) coming off a 3-game win streak (Lions) over a team with a 3-game starter with a rib injury (Mike White) on a 2-game losing streak (Jets). The surprise would be at the end of this week, when all the hay is in the barn, so to speak, if the Jets don't remain as favorites. But when Sunday arrives, I'm with the fans who aren't concerned about the point spread as much as they're invested in which team comes out ahead on the scoreboard.
CH: Yes, I was surprised the Jets opened the week as underdogs. While the Jets have lost their last two games and are 7-6, those last two games were both on the road against division leaders. On the other hand, the Lions have won 5 out of their last 6 games, the latest against the Vikings. While Detroit has gotten hot at the right time, I think playing at home is tothe Jets' advantage. Jared Goff has only thrown 2 touchdowns on the road this season, so what it comes down to is the run game. If the Jets can stop the Lions run, and take advantage of their defense, I think they can come out on top.
JP: No. The Lions have won their last two road games at outdoor venues in Chicago at Soldier Field and against the Giants at MetLife Stadium, and scored 31 points in those two games. Detroit has won 5 of its last 6 and proven the team can thrive outside of their Ford Field dome. The Jets have actually been better on the road, posting a 4-3 record.Additionally, the Jets have been underdogs in 11 games this season and home 'dogs 5 times. The Jets, however, have been dominant against some of the NFL's top-scoring offenses.This season, the Jets have held the Bills, the Dolphins and the Bengals – all in the NFL's top 7 in points per game – to an average of 20.3 points per game at home and have a 2-1 record in those games. The Lions are No. 5 in the NFL averaging 26.8 points per game. Las Vegas may say one thing about this game, but expect the Jets to match up well on Sunday.