The Detroit Lions (0-2) will look to win their first game of the season this weekend when they host the New England Patriots (1-1) on Sunday Night Football. Kickoff is set for 8:30 PM EST on Sunday, September 24th at Ford Field. The game will be televised on NBC.

Oddsmakers opened this game up with the Patriots as 6.5-point road favorites. That line has remained unchanged, as New England is currently available at -6.5. The total for this matchup is 40.5 points. Click here for a full look at the Week 3 NFL odds and for more links to our individual game previews.

Lions vs Patriots Vegas Odds & Game Preview

New England got a rude awakening in Jacksonville last weekend, losing 31-20 to their up and coming AFC rival. QB Tom Brady played well but not spectacular, throwing for just 234 yards and two touchdowns. Brady has completed 68% of his passes through the first two weeks of the season en route to a 5:1 TD to INT ratio. TE Rob Gronkowski was held in check all afternoon by the Jags, as Gronk only managed to make two receptions for 15 yards total. He has a much better matchup this week against the Lions, so he should certainly have a stat line that looks much closer to his 123 yard performance back in Week 1. The Patriots are currently ranked 16th overall in terms of scoring, as they are averaging 23.5 points per game.

On the other side of the ball, New England has looked below average in many defensive categories. They struggled immensely against the pass last weekend, allowing QB Blake Bortles to throw for four touchdowns and rack up almost 400 yards through the air. The Patriots are also 20th in scoring defense, giving up an average of 25.5 points per game to opponents.

The Lions lost their second consecutive game last weekend after a tough 30-27 road loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Detroit trailed for much of the game but couldn’t quite find a way to come all the way back in the end despite two 4th quarter touchdowns. QB Matthew Stafford looked much improved from his abysmal performance in Week 1, throwing for 347 yards and three touchdowns on the afternoon. He also managed to avoid any untimely turnovers after throwing four interceptions against the Jets in Week 1. WR Golden Tate appears to be Stafford’s favorite target yet again, as Tate hauled in seven receptions for 109 yards.

Detroit has been brutal defensively through two weeks, allowing 190 yards on the ground to Matt Breida and the 49ers. However, the Lions have been quite strong defending against the pass, largely due to the ultra-talented Darius Slay. One of the top shut-down corners in the NFL, Slay is the main reason why Detroit is giving up an average of just 168 passing yards per game to opponents (4th).

Free NFL Betting Prediction: New England -6.5

Despite playing on the road, I think New England offers pretty good value in this particular spot. Detroit is ranked dead least in terms of scoring defense, allowing opponents to put up an average of 39 points per game. If Jimmy G, Brady’s longtime back-up, just led the 49ers to a 30 point afternoon, I like Brady’s chances to put up 40+ in this one. He also has a shiny new toy to play with this week after the Patriots acquired WR Josh Gordon in a trade with Cleveland on Monday. Matthew Stafford has a brutal record in prime time games and his most recent performance in Week 1 certainly didn’t help his cause. Belichick will be eager to make a statement in his first game against longtime New England assistant coach Matt Patricia. It’s hard to imagine his defense having a lot of success against a team that knows so many of his secrets.  

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New England is an impressive 14-3 ATS over their last 17 road games, 7-2 ATS in their last nine games in September, and 37-17-2 ATS in their last 56 games overall. Meanwhile, the Lions are just 3-7 ATS in their last ten September games, 3-7 ATS over their last ten games on fieldturf, and 2-9 ATS over their last eleven games against opponents with a wining record.

I really don’t expect this game to be close at the end of the 4th quarter, as the favorite is 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings between these two teams. If Sam Darnold can put up 40+ points and Garoppolo can put up 30+ points, then Brady should have a field day against this brutal Lions D. I expect Stafford and the Lions to have some success on offense as well, since New England has allowed opponents to score an average of 25.5 points per game. Nevertheless, I’m taking the Pats to rebound and cover the spread after a disappointing loss in Week 2.