For the first time since way back when Two And a Half Men was still a top-ten TV hit, the Detroit Lions are opening an NFL season without Matthew Stafford behind center.
Last offseason the Lions dealt their bruised quarterback to the Rams, slamming the door on an era of missed opportunity. The Stafford Era will be remembered for high-flying footballs, toughness, and disappointment. Even while Stafford was a very good (or sometimes even great) QB in the Honolulu Blue, the team failed to win a playoff game in his 12 seasons in the Motor City.
This season the team not only has a new quarterback, they will be guided by a new head coach, who was hired by a new general manager. With so many new (there’s that word again) and promising players arriving via the recent NFL Draft, the Lions will be in need of a few introductions for the 2021 season.
In week one, the revamped Lions will place their offense in the hands of Jared Goff, acquired in the Stafford deal. Goff will begin the season at only 26, a much younger gunslinger, albeit an erratic one. He tossed for nearly 4,000 yards last season, but he also tossed 13 picks to go with 20 TDs. He is expected to be asked to be less aggressive in Detroit, where the maligned franchise is focusing on building a winner through tough defense and a no-mistake offense.
San Francisco 49ers at Detroit Lions Odds for Week 1
With nearly four months until the season begins, the Lions are underdogs in their season opener at Ford Field. Sportsbook consensus for week 1 odds is the 49ers at -7 and Detroit at +7.
Michigan online sports betting opening odds for SF vs DET:
- BetMGM Michigan: + 7.5 (-110)
- FanDuel Michigan: +7.15 (-110)
- BetRivers Michigan: +7.5 (-118)
- William Hill Michigan: +7.5 (-110)
49ers At Lions Game Preview
If you think the Lions have a quarterback scramble in the post-Stafford era, take a look at the Niners. The team drafted Trey Lance in June, but the rookie isn’t expected to be the starter, at least not until he learns the ways of the NFL. San Fran still has Jimmy Garoppolo, who has been linked to a return to the Patriots, but is apparently going to start the 2021 season in the Bay Area. Garoppolo has only once played a full season, in 2019 when he led the Niners to the Super Bowl. But he still has more than his share of detractors, and his health is questionable.
Last season, Garoppolo started three games on the road, and the 49ers won two of them, playing well in all three matchups. He’s a qualified and smart QB, and knows how to beat teams as a visitor. With Detroit bound to feature several new players in their defensive scheme, San Francisco could capitalize in Week #1.
The 49ers were an average defensive unit last season, and they’ve not done much to bolster that part of their game. However, the Lions were the worst team at preventing points and yards last season. You know how coaches preach the importance of turnovers? Last year Detroit forced only 12 turnovers on defense.
While I am encouraged at the improvements the Lions have made to their defense, their big-name draftee was Penei Sewell, an offensive lineman known more for pocket protection than run blocking.
With Goff at the helm, the Lions offense will try to peck away and open running lanes for D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams. But can Detroit’s new coaching staff, new roster, and new QB outscore opponents enough to win games?
The Niners struggled last season in a year marked by injury. But they play in a tough division, and should bounce back to at least be a .500 team and a definite playoff contender. Optimism, shmoptimism…I can’t count on Detroit to start the Dan Campbell Era with a W.
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