Detroit Lions (2-1; 2-1 ATS: 1-2 O/U) vs. Buffalo Bills (0-3; 0-3 ATS; 0-3 O/U)
NFL Preseason: Thursday, August 31, 2017 at 7:00pm EST
The Buffalo Bills will do battle with the Detroit Lions in week four preseason action Thursday night from New Era Field. The Lions were edged 30-28 by the Patriots last week, and the Bills struggled in a 13-9 loss to the Ravens. The Lions crushed the Bills 31-0 in last year’s final preseason game.
Stafford Shines in Lions Loss to Patriots
The Detroit Lions came up just short in a 30-28 home loss to the New England Patriots last week, however, there were many positives. Matt Stafford was terrific, connecting on 15 of 22 passes for 190 yards and two touchdowns, however, he did throw one interception on an ill-advised pass. The 29-year old quarterback will need to have a huge season for his team to have a chance at a playoff position. Stafford had another solid 2016 season, accumulating 4327 passing yards with a 24:10 TD to INT ratio. Ameer Abdullah was tremendous last week, rushing for 60 yards off 13 carries and also made three catches for 39 yards. The 24-year old running back suffered a season-ending injury in week two of last season which really hampered the Lions running game. Abdullah rushed for 597 yards in his 2015 rookie campaign, and he has looked great the entire preseason. Marvin Jones Jr. made four catches for 65 yards last week, and has now collected 96 receiving yards in two preseason games. The veteran wide receiver is a solid number two behind Golden Tate.
Last season the Lions scored an average of 21.6 points per game, ranking them 20th overall. The Detroit defense conceded an average of 22.4 points per game in 2016, placing them 13th in the NFL.
Tyrod Taylor Goes Down with Concussion
The Buffalo Bills have now dropped their first three preseason matchups after losing 13-9 to the Ravens last week. Tyrod Taylor went down with a concussion early in the game and the severity of the concussion is not yet known, however it is safe to say he likely will not suit up in the final preseason tuneup. Backup quarterback Nathan Peterman could not get anything going, completing 11 of 23 passes for 93 yards and no touchdowns. (edit: Backup T.J. Yates is also in concussion protocol). Newcomer Jordan Mathews did not suit up again last week and he is questionable for this contest. Zay Jones had a strong showing last week, bringing in three catches for 28 yards. The 22-year old wide receiver was taken in the second round of the 2017 draft and is expected to step right in as one of the Bills top targets in the air. LeSean McCoy was only able to tally seven rushing yards off six carries last week. The veteran running back will be relied on heavily after rushing for 1267 yards last season.
Last season the Bills averaged a solid 24.9 points per game, good for tenth in the NFL. The Buffalo defense allowed an average of 23.6 points per game in 2016, positioning them 16th overall.
The Detroit Lions are:
- 5-1 ATS in their last 6 Thursday games.
The Buffalo Bills are:
- 1-4 ATS in their last 5 home games.
- 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games overall.
I am taking the Lions in this contest. The Lions offense has looked good throughout the preseason, averaging nearly 23 points per game and Lions backup quarterback Jake Rudock is having a very strong preseason, throwing for 303 yards with three touchdowns. Furthermore, the Bills offense has been awful this preseason, averaging only 12 points per game and their starters will see little if any playing time at all, and backup QB’s T.J. Yates and Nathan Peterman only combined for two touchdowns through three preseason games.
Pick: Detroit Lions
As mentioned the Bills have not been able to get in any groove offensively and that is likely to continue with their reserves playing. The Lions won’t be playing Stafford or their offensive starters either, and the Bills have allowed 20 or fewer points in all three preseason games. The Lions shutout the Bills in last year’s final preseason game, plus the under is 5-0 in their last five games against the Lions.