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Matchups Week 2: Lions vs. Commanders

Detroit Lions (0-1) vs. Washington Commanders (1-0)

Spread: Lions -1.5.

Game Total: 48.5

Team Totals: Lions (25), Commanders (23.5)

Weather: Dome. 

The Line Report

  • This line opened as Lions -1.5.
  • This line moved early in the week to Lions -2.5, but it’s back down to Lions -1.5 at most books with a few Lions -2 options available.
  • DraftKings Pick’Em has the Lions -2.5.
  • Circa Sports Millions Pro Football Contest has the Lions -1.5.
  • This total opened at 48.5 points.
  • This total has largely settled at 48.5 points, with a few 49-point options available.

Notable Injuries

Loins: FB Jason Cabinda (Out), WR Jameson Williams (Out), RB D’Andre Swift (Questionable), LT Taylor Decker (Questionable), LG Jonah Jackson (Questionable), C Frank Ragnow (Questionable), RG Tommy Kraemer (Questionable), DT Michael Brockers (Questionable).

Commanders: EDGE Chase Young (IR), RG Trai Turner (Questionable), DT Jonathan Allen (Questionable), S Kamren Curl (Questionable).

The Lions Offense vs. Commanders Defense

This is a strength vs. strength matchup in the trenches. Four out of the Lions’ five starting offensive linemen are on the injury report, as is Washington DT Jonathan Allen. So, we have to keep an eye on who will be ready to go come Sunday. If everyone (aside from Chase Young) plays, we should consider this a relative draw in the trenches. 

The strength of the Lions is their talented, well-rounded skill group. Washington’s average secondary and questionable linebacker group could struggle against Detroit’s versatile collection of skill position players.

Notes and Observations

  • The Lions are 1-0 against the spread this season.
  • The Lions are 1-0 on overs this season.
  • Per The Edge, Jared Goff was 14th in play-action percentage on opening day.
  • Among opening day starters, Goff was 10th in air yards per attempt.
  • That air yards figure could be driven by Detroit playing in a negative game script, as Goff was 23rd (last) in air yards per attempt among quarterbacks with at least 800 snaps last season.
  • The Commanders gave up the 10th-most rushing yards and the seventh-fewest receiving yards to opposing running backs on opening day.
  • The Commanders surrendered the fourth-most receiving yards and the fifth-most receptions to enemy wide receivers last week.
  • Against Jacksonville, Washington gave up the 13th-most PPR points to perimeter receivers and the 10th-most to wide receivers lined up in the slot.
  • The Commanders allowed the 11th-fewest yards receiving on the 14th-fewest receptions to tight ends last week. 

The Commanders Offense vs. Lions Defense

Washington has a fringe top-10 caliber offensive line that will face a bottom-tier Lions front four. The Commanders have a trench advantage in this game and are well positioned to keep Carson Wentz relatively clean. However, they will be playing on the road in Detroit’s indoor venue.

Washington has a talented skill group that could give Detroit’s secondary some real problems. Wentz is a volatile quarterback, but we saw him shred Jacksonville for more than 300 yards and 4 passing touchdowns last week. If Wentz plays well, Washington’s pass-catchers have a collective edge against Detroit’s secondary. 

Notes and Observations

  • The Commanders are 1-0 against the spread this season.
  • The Commanders are 1-0 on overs this season.
  • Per The Edge, Wentz was second in the league in play-action percentage on opening day.
  • When he was in Indianapolis last season, Wentz led quarterbacks with at least 800 play-action snaps. Washington’s primary quarterback last season, Taylor Heinicke, was second. We should expect Washington to continue being play-action-heavy this season.
  • Among opening day starters, Wentz was 15th in air yards per attempt last week.
  • The Lions allowed the most yards rushing to quarterbacks on opening day, though they faced one of the premier rushers at the position in Jalen Hurts.
  • On opening day, the Lions surrendered the eighth-most yards rushing and the eighth-fewest yards receiving to opposing running backs.
  • Detroit yielded the 15th-most yards receiving on the 10th-fewest receptions to enemy wide receivers last week.
  • The Lions gave up the 10th-most receiving yards on the 11th-fewest receiving yards to tight ends last week.

This is What You’re Betting On in Lions vs. Commanders

A bet on the Lions is a bet on Jared Goff getting the most out of Detroit’s talented offense. Detroit’s offensive line can potentially mitigate Washington’s talented front, while the Lions’ skill group could be a problem for the Commanders in coverage. Dan Campbell’s old-school football culture should be considered a positive for Detroit, as well. The Lions’ defense against a talented group of Washington skill position players is your biggest concern with taking Detroit. Which version of Goff we’re going to get is your second concern.

A bet on the Commanders is a bet on Wentz shredding an NFL defense two weeks in a row. The potential is there, as Washington’s offense has an edge in both trenches and skill players. Washington’s ability to pressure Goff against a strong Lions offensive line is a key factor, as the Commanders have more high-end talent on defense than Detroit does. Your biggest concern on a Washington bet is the reliability of Wentz, who has been inconsistent since 2017’s MVP-caliber campaign as an Eagle.

This game is an interesting over candidate, as we have an indoor contest between two teams with strong offensive lines and talented skill groups. If Wentz and Goff play at their peaks in this contest, it wouldn’t be shocking if this total approached 60 points. I may end up getting my exposure to that best-case-scenario outcome through DFS rather than a totals bet, since it’s early in the season, and both quarterbacks are capable but inconsistent.

Winner/ Confidence Pool: Consider this a coin flip game in winner pools. Regardless of which side you take in this matchup, this contest should be towards the bottom of your confidence pool rankings.

Spread Pool: I’ll consider taking the Commanders at a +2.5 value in the DraftKings Pick’Em pool.

Survivor: This contest should be avoided for survivor purposes.

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