Sunday Night Football NFL Picks: Back Broncos -3 Against Lions

Joe Gavazzi

Friday, September 25, 2015 8:15 PM UTC

Friday, Sep. 25, 2015 8:15 PM UTC

Each week in this space, I will isolate the NFL Crusher of the Week, which will be a blend of statistical, situational and technical analysis that will result in an NFL pick.

Denver Broncos (-3) vs. Detroit Lions - 8:30 PM ET NBC
The Denver Broncos travel to meet the Detroit Lions for week 3 of Sunday Night Football. As usual, the game is televised by NBC at 8:30 Eastern. This is a matchup of the 0-2 SU ATS Lions against the 2-0 SU ATS Broncos, each of whom were playoff teams last year. Normally in a game like this I might favor the Detroit Lions. In this case, however, I am making a momentum play based on the defensive performances of each of these teams at the line of scrimmage.  That means that the Denver Broncos are my NFL pick as the NFL Crusher of the Week. Look for this favorite to dominate the point of attack, control matters overland and rush their way to a dominating victory in this week’s contest. 

Detroit is apparently a totally different team without Suh and Fairley. Last year, the Lions allowed just 70/3.2 overland. This year, things have totally changed for the Lions’ defense. In their 0-2 SU ATS start at San Diego and Minnesota, the Lions have allowed an average of 147/4.1 overland. Last week against Minnesota, the Lions were steamrolled 199-38 at the point of attack in their 26-16 loss to the Vikings. Should you think that the Lions’ defense is going to improve, consider that in the two games they are now allowing 30 PPG, 417 YPG, and 6.3 YP play. Those are major reasons for concern when your team is 9-20 ATS in non-division contests, and you have a starting signal called in QB Matthew Stafford, who is 31-47 ATS in his career.

Match that up against the Denver Broncos who, with QB Peyton Manning at the controls, are 41-13 SU. The Broncos have been winning with a defense that is far dichotomous to that of the Lions. In a pair of contests against Baltimore at home and at Kansas City last Thursday night (yes, Manning and mates have 10 full days rest), they have allowed just 19 PPG, only 244 YPG, and 4.5 YP play, tied with Dallas for the best defensive number in that category in the NFL. Profiting from +5 net TOs in the two games begs for a reversal no doubt. And the come from behind nature of their victory against the Chiefs could potentially leave them fat with 10 days to mull their good fortune.

But the momentum of the situation far outweighs either the Denver letdown or the Detroit bounce back. And the vast difference in defense, there is none larger this week from a YP play differential, is too much to ignore, especially when you have far the better of it with QB Manning against QB Stafford.  At these miniscule NFL odds, the Denver Broncos are my clear choice as NFL Crusher of the Week. 

NFL Pick: Broncos -3 at Bookmaker

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