Following last week’s loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, the (1-1) New England Patriots will look to get back on track against one of the worst teams in the NFL, the (0-2) Detroit Lions (8.20pm ET Sunday).
There is a lot of intrigue in this one, including the head coaching battle. For 14 years, Matt Patricia was a disciple of the Bill Belichick coaching tree. Patricia started as an offensive assistant for the Patriots in 2004 and worked his way up to defensive coordinator, a position he held from 2012-17. As defensive coordinator, Patricia led the Patriots to a top-10 scoring defense in each of his six years at the position. In 2016, the Patriots led the NFL in scoring defense as well, allowing opposing teams an average of just 15.6 points per game.
There is no denying that Patricia was very good at his job. That’s why in 2018, the Lions came calling when they were in need of a new head coach. For Patricia, not only is this his first head coaching opportunity but it’s also his first NFL job outside of New England. Prior to coaching with the Patriots, Patricia worked for RPI, Amherst and Syracuse.
Groomed in Belichick’s organization, there are certainly things that Patricia knows about his former teams, but on the same token, there are things the Patriots know about their former defensive coordinator. The biggest battle to watch will be how Patricia’s defense, which has struggled mightily this season, deals with facing one of the best to play the game, Tom Brady. While Patricia never worked directly with Brady, he certainly knows the quarterback, both his strengths and weaknesses.
For all of the quarterbacks Patricia has had to go against in his career, Brady isn’t one of them. In that way, this is going to be a challenge for the new head coach and could be an opportunity for Brady to feast on Detroit’s feeble defense.
What to Expect from Josh Gordon?
When the Cleveland Browns made the difficult decision to part ways with Josh Gordon this past Monday, it was always a matter of when, not if, a new team would pick him up. Gordon didn’t have to wait long as the day he was set to be released by the Browns, the team instead opted to trade him to the interested suitor, the Patriots.
Gordon’s past is littered with off-the-field issues. Drafted in the second round of the 2012 NFL Supplemental Draft, Gordon’s first two seasons in the league were highly productive. Gordon played 16 games in his rookie year, which as it would turn out, would be the first and only time in his now fifth year NFL career (seventh if you count two years missed due to suspension in 2015-16) that he has played a full season. In that first year, Gordon caught 50 passes for 805 yards and five touchdowns. He followed this up with a First-Team All-Pro sophomore season in 2013, despite missing the first two games due to suspension for violating the NFL’s Substance Abuse Policy. Gordon led all receivers with 1,646 receiving yards as well as nine touchdowns.
By the 2014 season however, Gordon’s off-the-field issues began to tell the story of his NFL career, much like they did during his time at Baylor. Gordon played just five games that season, due to a suspension for a failed drug test. In 2015, Gordon was suspended for the entire season and needed to apply for reinstatement in 2016. That reinstatement was initially denied but soon after it was decided that Gordon could return in week five. Instead, Gordon opted to enter into a rehabilitation program, which resulted in him missing all of 2016 as well. In 2017, after being granted reinstatement with conditional eligibility, Gordon played the remaining five games of the season, amassing 335 yards on 18 receptions.
After missing a team meeting and otherwise doing behavior that so-called broke the Browns trust, after six seasons of standing by the troubled Gordon, the Browns finally parted ways with the receiver.
New England is very much taking a chance on Gordon as there are no guarantees that he will be able to stay on the field. In his career, he’s missed 33 games of the 97 he’s been eligible to play in. But if he does, Gordon has unbelievable talent. With a quarterback like Brady and not much competition in the pass-catching game, Gordon should be able to put up some big numbers in the new system. New England lacks a deep threat in the passing game right now, which is a void that Gordon can fill. Gordon also has breakaway speed making him tough for even elite-level cornerbacks and safeties to defend against him in the backfield.
It’s unknown if Gordon, who is dealing with a hamstring injury, and who has to learn a complex playbook with New England, will play on Sunday night. If he does though and if he showcases the level of talent he has in the past, then it could be a long night for Detroit’s struggling defense.
Our Preview’s New England Patriots at Detroit Lions Betting Picks & Predictions Verdict
It has not been a good start to the season or the coaching career of Matt Patricia and the Detroit Lions. It’s unlikely that this stretch will turn around against a team as good as the Patriots. New England’s pedigree aside, the trends favor the Patriots as well. In Bill Belichick’s coaching career, following a double-digit loss, much as the Patriots did last week against Jacksonville, New England is 21-6 ATS. The team is also 9-3 ATS in their last 12 night games. In 18 games coaching against his former assistants, Belichick is 12-6.
These are our New England Patriots at Detroit Lions predictions against the USA betting sites:
- When you have a team like the Patriots, losses don’t come often and back-to-back losses are even rarer still. New England is generally favored by seven points or more with the bookies, but one is a touch better than that. The first betting prediction of this preview is to take the Patriots -6.5pts to cover that spread @ -115 with Bookmaker.
- As for the total points to be scored in this NFL game, hitting the over on 53.5 to 54 (depending on the sportsbook) seems likely given Detroit games are some of the highest scoring this season, with an average of 61 points combined per game. The pick is to go over 53.5pts @ -110 with 5Dimes.
Marilee writes on NFL, MLB, NBA & tennis for USA Betting. Another area of her sporting journalistic expertise is pro wrestling. A native of Philadelphia and a big Eagles fan, she has been a sports writer for many major websites including Bleacher Report and Rant Sports. She started her journalistic career early, as sports editor for her college newspaper.