NFL Week 8 Betting – Det, KC Head Overseas
Zack GarrisonNo comments
For the second week in a row and third time this season, London, England, will host an NFL game. This Sunday, UK fans will welcome the Detroit Lions (1-6 SU, 1-6 ATS) and Kansas City Chiefs (2-5 SU, 2-5 ATS) to Wembley Stadium (9:30 AM Eastern).
At 1-6, the Lions are tied with Baltimore for the worst record in the NFL. They managed to get in the win column with a narrow 37-34 OT triumph over the Bears in Week 6, but followed that up with a disappointing 28-19 home loss to division rival Minnesota last weekend.
The team is struggling on both sides of the ball. The offense is averaging fewer than 20 points per game (19.9 PPG) and is dead-last in the league in rushing by a wide margin (68 yards per game). The passing game is putting up decent stats on the surface (278.6 YPG), but when you add in the fact that Matt Stafford is attempting nearly 45 throws per game (and connecting on just over 60-percent of those), optimism begins to wane.
That’s certainly how Detroit management felt this week, as the team fired offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi (promoting the fantastically named Jim Bob Cooter, formerly the team’s quarterback coach).
Putting a passing-game guru into the OC spot is a bit of a curious move for a team that needs to start running better, but Stafford had nothing but praise for Cooter.
“He’s been great,” Stafford said of his new OC to the Associated Press. “But the more he starts talking football, you understand his intelligence and his understanding of the game. That garners respect from guys.”
Unfortunately for Londoners, they’ll be “treated” to two impotent offenses on Sunday. Alex Smith and the Chiefs were a popular pick to dethrone the Broncos in the AFC West this year, but haven’t been able to find the end zone with any consistency, averaging a shade over 21 PPG. The team sits 27th in the league in red zone touchdowns, putting up majors on just 41-percent of trips inside the 20.
Making matters worse, the offense lost its undisputed leader, RB Jamaal Charles, for the season two weeks ago. Now head coach Andy Reid will have to rely on the uninspiring pair of Charcandrick West and Knile Davis to lead the rushing attack.
Somewhat surprisingly, Kansas City was able to snap a five-game losing streak last weekend without Charles (and leading receiver Jeremy Maclin), handling the Ben Roethlisberger-less Steelers (23-13) at home. The Chiefs defense, which forced three turnovers, gets much of the credit for the win, as does West, who posted a solid 110 rushing yards on 22 carries.
The win evidently inspired some confidence in Kansas City among the betting public; the Chiefs will head to London as large 5.5-point favorites, despite owning just two wins on the year and being short their best player. What makes the line even more peculiar is that this Detroit team just won a game in London last year (coming from behind to stun the Falcons, 22-21), while KC will be making its first trip to the UK.
That said, the Chiefs have the strong roster, top to bottom, and the Lions are a dismal 1-5 ATS in their last six against KC. Add in the fact that the Lions will be working with a new co-ordinator on offense, and my instinct says the Chiefs will find a way to cover late.
Pick: Chiefs -5.5.