Detroit Lions vs. Denver Broncos

Not every matchup between a 2-4 team with an untested quarterback and a team on a two game losing streak draws much attention. But Sunday’s tilt between the Detroit Lions (5-2) and the Denver Broncos (2-4) will likely be one of the most watched, and talked about games, of the week this week.

For the Broncos, this season has been all about whether or not second year quarterback Tim Tebow should be given a shot as a starter. He got that chance on Sunday and led the Broncos to an improbable 18-15 overtime win against the hapless Miami Dolphins.

Despite the last minute heroics, Tebow did not have that great a day in front of a very friendly road crowd. For most of the game he struggled mightily to find a rhythm, and was sacked seven times by a team that hadn’t had a sack all season.

And up until the final minutes of the game, Denver had only netted 2 passing yards. Tebow did finish out the game 13-27 for 161 yards and 2 touchdowns.

But with five minutes, and no points on the board, Tebow snapped out of his funk and started making plays. For the next ten minutes he was the Tebow Denver fans have been waiting for.

After two touchdowns, an onside kick and a two -point conversion, the Broncos forced the game into overtime and won on a 52 yard Matt Prater field goal.

But remember, the Broncos were coming off a bye week and the win-less Dolphins played in the Monday night game last week. Beating Miami should not have been that difficult.

Facing the Detroit Lions will be a different story entirely.

While the Lions have dropped their last two games, at home, they’re still very good this year, especially compared to Denver.

On Sunday they lost a 23-16 heart breaker to the Atlanta Falcons in front of a disapproving home crowd. That game was basically decided on an overturned pass interference call that forced the Lions to give up the ball on downs with just 3:20 left in the game.

Worse than that, quarterback Matt Stafford injured his right knee on the play and is now listed as, “day to day.” He seems to have run out of steam this season, despite having completed 162-269 for 1912 yards and 16 touchdowns. If he does play on Sunday, he’s unlikely to be completely healthy.

But the Lions are a very good road team and have won their last five away games. So maybe that Detroit crowd that caused the Chicago Bears so much trouble isn’t such a factor anymore.

For the Broncos, the tremendous home field advantage they’ve enjoyed over the decades has been muted lately by a dismal record and dampened fan enthusiasm. But all that could change on Sunday if Tebow starts playing well from the get go.

Fan noise could make it very difficult for the Lions to establish a passing game, and that’s assuming that Stafford plays at all.

Football handicappers have Stafford and company as favorites (-3) coming into Denver but watch for that number to change during the week ahead. As Tebow fever mounts, bookmakers are likely to see a lot of play on the Broncos, which should bring that number down a bit.

Detroit will need to take the crowd out of this game early if they want to keep the Broncos at bay. They should also hope that the Tebow they see is the one that played the first three quarters in Miami, not the guy from the fourth quarter.

Between Stafford’s injury and Tebow’s enthusiasm, this will be a tough one for Detroit to win. Look for Denver to win this one straight up.

Denver is 2-4 ATS this season, while the Lions are 4-2-1 ATS.

Prediction: Denver 24-17

For more information: Every week seasoned sports betting veterans Joe Duffy, Roxy Roxborough, Bob Martin and Pete Axthelm deliver top plays at offshoreinsiders.com

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