For a lot of moons, the Detroit Lions have been the laughingstock of the NFL. They’ve been the Cleveland Browns of the NFC, the clowns on the circus, the Packers’ little brothers who simply need to get a seat on the grownup desk on Thanksgiving — however not anymore. By way of two weeks, the Detroit Lions have proven life. They’ve proven grit. They’ve been satisfying, they usually’ve impressed quite a few individuals throughout America. After Week 1 noticed the Lions battle robust in opposition to probably the greatest groups within the NFC, the Philadelphia Eagles, Week 2 noticed the Lions bounce out to a giant lead early on the Washington Commanders. Whereas the Commanders did claw their means again to carry the rating inside single digits, most onlookers agreed that the Lions by no means actually misplaced management. They appeared stable.
Now, anybody who’s been watching the Lions lately may’ve instructed you that their file wasn’t indicative of how good the group really was. In 2021, the Lions had the second-worst file within the league. Nonetheless, they have been additionally 1-6-1 in one-possession games final 12 months. That’s not regular. You’d anticipate a group to be about .500 in these conditions. Detroit wasn’t anyplace shut. Couple that with a extra wholesome offensive line, improved passing game weapons, and an improved go rush, and it’s no surprise that the Lions are abruptly wanting like kings of their jungle. They’ve additionally received one of many best schedules within the NFL, with 10 games in opposition to groups that have been below .500 final season. Yeah, they’ll most likely get smoked on nationwide TV on Thanksgiving Day in opposition to the Buffalo Payments. That can most likely flip lots of people away from the Lions, however hey, the Rams additionally received smoked by the Payments on nationwide TV and I don’t see anyone fading the Rams proper now.
Sports activities bettors are essentially the most intrigued by the Lions to this point. This complete week, the Lions have been a favourite at sportsbooks. On Tuesday, the Lions acquired 16.7 p.c of bets to win the Tremendous Bowl. That tied them with the Payments for the second-most, behind solely the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs, who acquired 25 p.c of all Tremendous Bowl bets. That is surprising. On the subject of particular person games, it’s regular to see bettors again the underdogs in hopes of huge payouts. Nonetheless, that nearly by no means occurs relating to championship bets. The phrase is “any given Sunday,” not “any given season.”
Hell, the Lions nonetheless aren’t anticipated to even attain the playoffs. In keeping with OddsChecker US, the Lions are listed at -350 to overlook the playoffs, that means they’re being given a 77.8 p.c likelihood to overlook the playoffs altogether. Regardless of their scorching begin, they nonetheless have +10000 odds to win the Tremendous Bowl, placing them tied for twenty third within the NFL with the likes of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Washington Commanders. Ought to these odds be greater? Completely, particularly given the truth that the Lions beat the Commanders convincingly of their residence opener final weekend.
That’s most likely why so many individuals are inclined to guess on the Lions this week. They seen how arduous the Lions laid the smack down on Washington, and the truth that they’re nonetheless tied with the Commanders when it comes to Tremendous Bowl odds is a slap within the face to Detroit’s early-season accomplishments.
It’s not just the Super Bowl odds that bettors love though. The Lions are the most backed underdog to win this Sunday, receiving 66.7 percent of moneyline bets as six-point underdogs to their division rivals, the Minnesota Vikings. Now, the Lions haven’t won in Minnesota since 2017, but I understand why so many people could see Detroit walking away with a victory this Sunday. The most obvious reason is how each team fared in their games against the Philadelphia Eagles. While neither team got out to a hot start, the Lions showed fight, clawing back to make it a close game by the final whistle. Meanwhile, the Vikings couldn’t get anything going. They looked outclassed against Philadelphia, like a deer in headlights — or Sam Darnold in opposition to the Patriots. Primarily based on the transitive property, it’d be a slam dunk residence run guess, proper? Math has by no means failed us earlier than, however we all know higher. We all know that isn’t how soccer works.
The Vikings must be a favourite, however I’m additionally glad to see everybody giving Detroit the credit score they deserve. Detroit doesn’t have the identical protection that Philadelphia does, and everyone knows that Kirk Cousins struggles mightily in primetime games. Thus we shouldn’t anticipate a repeat efficiency of final week. This game must be a shootout, and so long as Irv Smith Jr. continues dropping positive landing passes, the Lions may have a reasonably good shot at transferring above .500.
Daniel Elton, senior editor at Wahu Times, writes about politics and policy with a focus on climate advocacy. Daniel previously at the New Republic and, and Self. Daniel can be reached by email.