The Detroit Lions haven’t won the NFC North since 1993, which was so long ago it was called the Central then. It’s the second-longest division title drought in the NFL behind Cleveland. However, entering Sunday’s home game and likely win over Carolina, the Lions are in sole possession of first in the division for the first time in six years and would move at least three games above .500 for the first time since 2016 by dispatching the winless Panthers, who are +10.
Detroit has lost five straight games going back years when it entered at two games over .500. That seven-year streak of failing to get three games over .500 is the NFL’s longest.
The spread is notable because #OnePride hasn’t been a double-digit favorite since Nov. 12, 2017, when it was -10.5 at home vs. Cleveland and won by 14. Overall, the Lions have been double-digit favorites only three times since 2010 and won all three but are 2-1 ATS.
Since starting 1-6 last year, Detroit is 11-3 straight up and NFL-best 12-2 against the spread. Defensively, the Lions are allowing an average of 20.4 points in their past 12 after surrendering 32.1 ppg in the first seven last year. They entered Week 5 with the fourth-fewest yards allowed per game (280.5) after giving up an NFL-worst 392.4 ypg in 2022.
Offensively, Detroit has scored at least 20 points in 13 straight games, tying the franchise record set in 1995. Second-round rookie Sam LaPorta has the most catches (22) by a tight end through four career games since 1950 and second-most receiving yards (242) through four career games for a tight end all-time (Mike Ditka, 315).
Jared Goff is completing a career-high 69.5% percent of his passes but might be without No. 1 WR Amon-Ra St. Brown due to an abdominal injury. He hasn’t practiced yet this week. St. Brown leads the team with 35 targets, 26 catches and 331 yards with two 100-yard games already after four all of last year.
Carolina is 0-4 for the first time since 2010 as rookie No. 1 overall pick QB Bryce Young continues to struggle. The Panthers have now lost 54 straight games when trailing in the fourth quarter, the NFL’s longest such skid since at least 1991.
#KeepPounding is the only team without an SU or ATS win this season after Chicago upset Washington on Thursday night.