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Lions/Broncos Sunday Night Football preview

Broncos at Lions preview

Denver Broncos (2-0) at Detroit Lions

Sunday, 8:30 pm ET (NBC)

Broncos -3/Total: 44-½

stafford

Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford has only been sacked twice this season but has been hit many times behind Detroit’s suspect offensive line.

When the Lions have the ball

Surprisingly, the 0-2 Lions average more yards per game in passing and total offense than the Broncos (Detroit 259 yards passing/game and 312.5 total yards/game vs Broncos 194 yards passing/game and 259 yards/game total offense). Denver leads the league in fewest passing yards and total yards against (133.5 yards/game passing and 243.5 total yards/game).

Only the Philadelphia Eagles average less rushing yards per game (Philadelphia 35 yards/game rushing vs Detroit 53.5 yards/game) than the Lions. Denver averages 110 yards/game rushing allowed.

The Broncos 3-4 defense is led up front by right defensive end Malik Jackson, who comes into the game with six tackles and a sack to his credit thus far.

Inside linebackers, Brandon Marshall and Danny Trevathan have combined for 28 tackles (12 and 16 respectively) while Marshall has registered one sack and forced a fumble.

The Broncos secondary has four interceptions in two games (left cornerback Aqib Talib with two, and one each for free safety Darian Stewart and right cornerback Chris Harris).

The Lions are led by quarterback Matthew Stafford, who was roughed-up in last week’s contest at Minnesota. Listed as probable on the official NFL injury report, Earlier in the week there was speculation that Stafford may sit out this game as he was very sore on Monday after being hit multiple times by the Vikings.

Stafford is 11th in the league in total passing yards (however, Eli manning and Kirk Cousins have played three games to Stafford’s two, so far) with 532. He has completed 51-of-83 pass attempts, for a percentage of 61.4%, with four touchdowns and two interceptions. Surprisingly, he has only been sacked twice–once in each game.

Calvin Johnson leads the Lions in receptions (12) and yards receiving (122) with an average of 10.2 yards/catch. he caught his only touchdown pass of the season last week at Minnesota.

The Lions running game (as noted) is very week. Rookie running back Ameer Abdullah has totaled 59 yards on 13 carries this season, for an average of 4.5/yards/carry. He scored a touchdown in his first career game in Week 1 at San Diego.

Look for the Broncos to continue to stuff the Lions running game, while daring Stafford to beat their tough secondary. This may be a long night for the Lions.

When the Broncos have the ball

Broncos veteran quarterback Peyton Manning is not off to a normal Manning-esque start. His completion percentage is down 6.6% from his career average (2015-58.8% vs career-65.4%) and he has three touchdown passes and two interceptions in two games so far.

Manning’s two favorite receivers this year have been Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas. Sanders has 16 receptions for 152 yards with two touchdowns, and Thomas has 15 catches for 176 yards so far.

Denver’s running back-by-committee approach while better than Detroit’s is sputtering. C.J. Anderson has 24 carries for 56 yards (2.3 yards/carry) while Ronnie Hillman has 75 yards on 21 carries (3.6 yards/carry). No Bronco has a rushing touchdown so far this season. Look for that to change in this game.

The Lions employ a 4-3 defense has seen Ziggy Ansah tally the most tackles so far this season with nine. He also has two sacks so far. Right defensive tackle Haloti Ngata was acquired via trade from the Baltimore Ravens this off-season in order to replace Ndamukong Suh who left via free agency to the Miami Dolphins. Ngata missed the entire preseason and has only three tackles this season (he also assisted on one).

Detroit’s linebacking corps features Stephen Tulloch and Josh Bynes. Tulloch has one less tackle than Bynes so far this season (13 vs 12). The linebackers have no interceptions, sacks, or forced fumbles to their credit. Outside linebacker DeAndre Levy is listed as doubtful and doesn’t look likely to play.

In the secondary, all four starters have double-digit tackles, which is not a good sign. Left cornerback Darius Slay and free safety Glover Quin each have an interception to their credit.

The Broncos will look to face the Lions soft defensive line with a balanced attack. The Detroit interior defense hasn’t played well so far this season, and the Broncos will look to set-up the pass with the running game, leaving Lion defenders on their toes. Anderson, who is the starter at running back, is a hard-nosed grinder while Hillman is more of a speed threat. Look for them to get into the Detroit secondary often.

Manning will look to employ the play-action pass, as Detroit’s back seven should need to help the defensive front. Again, it could be a long night for the Lions.

prater

Lions kicker Matt Prater spent seven seasons with the Denver Broncos

Special teams

Broncos placekicker Brandon McManus is 5-for-5 in field goals this year, with a long of 57 yards. He is 3-for-3 on field goal attempts over 50 yards.

Lions kicker (and former Bronco) Matt Prater made good on his only field goal attempt this year of 25 yards. like McManus, he is also 5-for-five on the longer P.A.T. attempts this year.

Britton Colquitt handles punt duties for Denver while Sam Martin is the punter and kickoff specialist for the Lions.

Denver has no kickoff returns so far this season but send either Andre Caldwell or Omar Bolden deep to receive. Sanders returns punts for the Broncos and has two returns for 13 total yards.

Golden Tate has three punt returns on the season, averaging 12 yards. Abdullah has the Lions lone kick return this year, good for 33 yards.

Let’s take a look at the lines heading into Sunday’s game. Mytopsportsbooks.com has the Detroit Lions as the underdog against the Denver Broncos.

Denver at Detroit – Sun, Sep 27, 8:30 PM ET (488)
POINT SPREAD TOTAL MONEY LINE
BETONLINE.ag
-3
+3
DEN: -120
DET: 100
44.5 O/U o: -110
u: -110
DEN: -165
DET: +145
5Dimes.eu
-3
+3
DEN: -125
DET: 105
44.5 O/U o: -110
u: -110
DEN: -170
DET: +150
SportsBetting.ag
-3
+3
DEN: -120
DET: 100
44.5 O/U o: -110
u: -110
DEN: -165
DET: +145
BOVADA
-3
+3
DEN: -130
DET: 110
45 O/U o: -105
u: -115
DEN: -165
DET: +145
Fantasy911.com
-3.5
+3.5
DEN: -105
DET: -115
45 O/U o: -110
u: -110
DEN: -170
DET: +150

Prediction

Denver remains undefeated as the Lions lose their home opener in prime-time and start the season 0-3.

DENVER 38

Detroit 21

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