The NFL preseason continues Friday night with the New York Giants visiting the Detroit Lions. Both teams are preparing for the season with a new head coach and a lot to prove, helping to add a little more intrigue to this preseason matchup. The Lions are listed as 3-point favorites at home following joint practices between the two teams this week.
The Giants are coming off a 20-10 loss to the Browns, which doesn’t sound that bad when you remember that Cleveland was 4-0 in the preseason last year. Eli Manning played long enough to go 4 for 7 for 26 yards while Saquon Barkley made a strong first impression with a 39-yard run the first time he touched the ball. Other than that, the Giants didn’t give their marquee players much time.
The Lions also lost their preseason opener, falling to the Raiders 16-10 on the road. Matthew Stafford didn’t play at all, leaving Jake Rudock and Matt Cassel to take all the snaps. However, Detroit had its own rookie running back make a positive impact, as Kerryon Johnson impressed in his seven carries.
Big Guns Back?
Even in the second exhibition game, it’s unclear how much action each team’s key players will get. Barkley pulled up lame earlier this week, and while the injury is considered minor, the Giants aren’t likely to risk playing him. It’s also likely that Odell Beckham Jr. will continue to stout preseason games, leaving the Giants a little void of playmakers, even if Manning does play more than one series.
Detroit, meanwhile, may look to get Johnson some rest after he played 40 snaps last week. The Lions also won’t be inclined to give Stafford too many snaps. After not playing at all in the preseason opener, Stafford may only play one or two series, allowing Rudock and Cassel to once again get most of the playing time.
Does Familiarity Breed Contempt?
As mentioned, the Giants and Lions have spent the week conducting joint practices. After getting to know each other a little bit, will they be looking for bragging rights during the actual preseason game Friday night? That could be true to a certain extent, but the joint practices could also have another impact on the game.
After seeing one another all week, these two teams should be familiar with what one another is going to do. Such a scenario will always favor the defenses, especially since they’re always further along at this point in the season than the offenses anyway. On top of that, both of these teams scored a measly 10 points in their preseason opener, so neither team is clicking offensively at the moment.
In all likelihood, this will be a low-scoring game. The best bet may actually be taking the under on 40 points. However, the Lions are also a good bet in this game. Matt Patricia will likely want to make a good first impression with the Lions playing at home for the first time this preseason. Also, Cassel will be more likely to move the ball against the New York defense than Giants backup quarterback Davis Webb against the Detroit defense. Bet on the Lions -3 to beat the Giants in Friday’s preseason game.