The Detroit Lions have the feel of big time underdogs this week as they travel to New Orleans to take on the Saints. The early returns on expert predictions and simulations suggest it is more than a feeling, it’s reality.
The video game portion of ESPN’s website featuring Madden 12 simulations has the following would-be recap:
Think the Lions have the offensive firepower to hang with the Saints? Think again, as Drew Brees throws for 326 yards and three touchdowns to help New Orleans pull off the 31-24 win. Matthew Stafford threw for 289 yards and two scores of his own, but it just wasn’t enough to keep pace with Brees and crew, as the Saints led 31-17 late in the game before Detroit made the final score look closer with a late, meaningless touchdown.
Unfortunately, that sounds completely reasonable.
AccuScore runs 10,000 game simulations and gives the Lions just a 20% chance of winning. Only the Rams (against the 49ers) and Colts (against the Patriots) have lower odds this week.
When it comes to real live humans, the results are the same. Not one of the eight members of ESPN’s panel of experts is willing to stick his neck out and pick the Lions. However, the panel reached a unanimous consensus on seven of the 16 games to be played this week.
Can the Lions remain competitive and justify the decision to flex this game into primetime? We’ll see…