Line: Lions -7

The Lions come into this Sunday’s game feeling pretty good about their 3-1 record so far this season. It is easy for Lions fans to remember that last seasons team had the same 3-1 record after 4 games and proceeded to collapse down the stretch including losses in 6 of their last 7 games. Players have been vocal all week long that last season is not going to repeat itself and give most of that credit and confidence to new Head Coach Jim Caldwell who has brought maturity and stability to a team that lack both of those elements under previous head coach Jim Schwartz. The Bills are 2-2 and have made a change at starting quarterback. Head Coach Doug Marrone has benched second year starter E.J Manuel in favor of strong-armed journeyman Kyle Orton. The move will certainly put a stronger armed quarterback at the helm but will also put his inconsistent track record on the field as well. There is a reason he has been on multiple teams in his career. The team ranks 27th in total offense and 320 yards per game and will need to increase those numbers if they want to make the playoffs.

The Bills have arguably the best running back tandem in veteran Fred Jackson and C.J Spiller as well as a future star in rookie wide receiver Sammy Watkins to go along with a strong offensive line; there is no logical explanation for the team’s lack of offensive production other than poor play from the quarterback position. Orton has been a on several teams and played under several systems. He will be ready to play on Sunday afternoon and will be given every opportunity to succeed. Spiller has been better so far this season but has yet to fully display the skills that had many people thinking he could evolve into an elite running back. Jackson is a veteran who is just as comfortable running between the tackles as he is at running to the outside. This is a nice early season test for a team that is still trying to identify themselves as either a contender or a pretender.

The Lions have their own running back duo with veteran Reggie Bush and youngster Joique Bell. Bell gets more carries while Bush is a big threat out of the backfield. Quarterback Matthew Stafford consistently puts up big numbers and will be looking to transfer those numbers into some consistent winning. Wide receiver Calvin Johnson is the most unstoppable player in the NFL. He requires a double team at all times and will often make plays despite the best efforts of opposing secondaries. Free agent signing Golden Tate has stepped into the number two receiver role and reaps the benefits of the coverage Johnson draws. On the season Tate has 24 catches for 317 yards. The teams offensive goal needs to be to put points on the board without turning the ball over so that it can allow its top ranked defense to take over from there.

Pick: Bills +7

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