They may have pulled off a historic upset in Week 10, but the Detroit Lions aren't a very popular Week 11 NFL pick Sunday's against the Oakland Raiders, and we're here to tell you why.
Jason's 2015 record as of Nov. 17: 39-34-2 ATS; 0-1 ML (-1.00 units); 22-29 Total
The last time the Detroit Lions won at Lambeau Field, Erik Kramer was handing the ball off to Barry Sanders. It was Week 16 of the 1991 NFL regular season. The Lions beat the Green Bay Packers (+3) 21-17 that day, part of a magical 12-4 SU and ATS campaign that saw Detroit finish first in the NFC North. The Packers went 4-12 SU and 6-10 ATS and missed the playoffs for the ninth straight year.
During that offseason, Green Bay sent a first-round pick to the Atlanta Falcons for QB Brett Favre, and they hired Mike Holmgren to replace Lindy Infante as head coach. Things have been pretty good for the Packers ever since. The Lions? Well, at least they beat Green Bay 18-16 last week as 10.5-point road dogs. Can Detroit come up with some more magic this Sunday (1:00 p.m. ET, CBS) when the Oakland Raiders come to town?
The Joy of Sacks
Two out of three bettors disagree. The Raiders (4-5 SU, 5-4 ATS) opened as 1-point faves on our NFL odds board, and right away, 65 percent of first responders jumped on Oakland, bumping the spread up as high as –2 as we go to press. This is despite Oakland coming out flat last week and losing 30-14 to the Minnesota Vikings (+3 away). Our expanded consensus reports also show two-thirds of the action landing on the visitors.
The skepticism about Detroit is understandable. Green Bay was vulnerable last week with several injuries on the offensive line, and early bettors still didn't want to open up their wallets and/or purses for the Leos as double-digit dogs. They're not likely to change their minds this week. The Raiders are quite healthy, and their offensive line has allowed just 12 sacks this year while providing solid run blocking for RB Latavius Murray (4.7 yards per carry).
There is one big problem on defense, though, and his name is Aldon Smith. On Tuesday, the NFL suspended the former Pro-Bowl linebacker for one year, which will take a bite out of Oakland's pass rush going forward. Okay, maybe not a big bite; Smith had 3.5 sacks in his nine games and did a decent job in run support. The whole situation bites nonetheless.
We're still going to recommend the Raiders for your Week 11 NFL picks. Football Outsiders have their latest DVOA numbers fresh out of the oven, and even after the win over Green Bay, the Lions are still No. 31 overall in efficiency. The Raiders dropped two spots to No. 14 overall with their loss to Minnesota. They've got one of the better offenses in the league (No. 6 in efficiency) with QB Derek Carr at the controls, and with all that protection, we expect Carr to do some big things on Sunday – if the prolate spheroid is with him.
Free NFL Pick: Take the Raiders -1 (-120) at 5Dimes