Lions at Giants: Game preview, odds, prediction

BY Fansided and Russell S. Baxter/Fansided • December 15, 2016

It’s a battle of 9-4 playoff contenders as the defensive-minded New York Giants host the resourceful and NFC North leading Detroit Lions.

The Detroit Lions and New York Giants come off losing campaigns. Not each franchise is guaranteed a winning campaign. And if these clubs continued to play well, there may be some postseason invitations waiting for them.

But first things first. Jim Caldwell’s squad heads to MetLife Stadium to face a Giants’ team that has won seven of its last eight games. The offense has been erratic and that’s being kind. But a defensive unit that was the worst in the NFL a year ago has merged into a formidable unit.

On the other hand, the Lions have prevailed in eight of their last nine contests after opening 1-3. During their current five-game winning streak, they have limited the opposition to fewer than 20 points in each game.

Odds

Line: Giants (-4.5)

Over/Under: 41.5

Even an injured finger couldn’t prevent Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford from another fourth-quarter comeback last week. Caldwell and company are coming off a 20-17 victory over the Chicago Bears. This season, the eight-year pro is hitting on 66.7 percent of his passes for 3,447 yards. Stafford has thrown more than three times as many touchdown passes (22) as interceptions. He’ll try and outplay Eli Manning, who’s thrown more TD passes this season (23) but has also turned over the football 17 times.

It’s the defense that will wind up taking center stage in this key NFC tilt. The Lions (14th) and Giants (15th) aren’t separated by much in terms of total yards allowed per game in the league. New York has gotten most of the attention when it comes to this side of the ball thanks to solid performances via Olivier Vernon, Janoris Jenkins and team tackle leader Landon Collins. You get the sense that Stafford will have the ball in his hands in the final minutes and needing a field goal to win the game. But this time around, the hero falls a little bit short.

Pick: Giants 23, Lions 21

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