Detroit (9-4) at NY Giants (9-4)
When: Sunday, December 18th 2016
Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ
Time: 1:00 ET | TV: FOX
The Detroit Lions can take another step towards an NFC North title when they visit the New York Giants on Sunday afternoon. The Lions won their fifth straight game last week despite quarterback Matt Stafford dislocating his right middle finger in the 20-17 victory over Chicago. Stafford used his legs to score the winning touchdown last week – a 7-yard scamper in the fourth quarter. He will be wearing a protective glove on Sunday, but doesn’t seem too worried about it. “(The glove) is not really for my state of mind, it’s for what’s going to be functional. So whatever’s most functional, with what I can perform the best with, that’s what I’ll go with.” Detroit’s running game could be short-handed this week with Theo Riddick (wrist, ankle) sitting out practice this week (doubtful) and backup Zach Zenner in the league’s concussion protocol (questionable). Tight end Eric Ebron, who is a native of Newark, N.J., has just 70 yards receiving over his last three games after reaching that mark in each of his previous three. Defensive end Kerry Hyder has collected six of his team-leading eight sacks in his last six road games for the league’s 15th-ranked defense. Detroit can clinch at least a share of the division crown with a win Sunday.
The Giants stayed alive in the NFC East last week by beating the Dallas Cowboys for the second time this season, a week after getting hammered by the Pittsburgh Steelers. New York has won seven of their last eight games and Odell Beckham Jr. improved the Giants’ postseason position after his 61 yard touchdown for his team-leading ninth of the season and sixth in his past five home games. Quarterback Eli Manning has failed to eclipse 200 passing yards in each of his last three games and has thrown three interceptions in that stretch. “I’ve got to play better,” Manning said. “Got to find completions, got to protect the football better. That’s what’s got to happen in these types of games. You get into December, you’ve got to protect the football. That’s the most important thing right now.” He isn’t being helped by the 31st-ranked running game, with Rashad Jennings (team-leading 459 yards) limited to just 64 yards in his last two games heading into Sunday against the 11th-ranked Lions’ rush defense (97.7). Wide receiver Sterling Shepard has caught a touchdown in four of his last five games and his six on the season ties him for second-best in the NFL among rookies. Defensive end Olivier Vernon has recorded seven sacks in his last six games for the league’s 14th-ranked defense. The Giants are 7th in points allowed (18.8).
Detroit is playing well right now and I don’t see Stafford’s finger being to big of a problem. New York is really having trouble moving the ball. Detroit’s Darius Slay is a very underrated cornerback who should be able to keep Beckham in check. I’ll take the points in what I think will be a tight low-scoring affair.
Pick: Lions +4