BOSTON (CBS) — The Patriots head to Detroit for their first night game of the season (their first of many), taking on Matt Patricia’s 0-2 Lions on Sunday Night Football.
The Pats are looking to bounce back a tough loss in Jacksonville last weekend, hoping to avoid a 1-2 start to the season. The last time they lost two of their first three games came back in 2012, finishing the season 12-4 before falling in the AFC Championship game to the Baltimore Ravens.
Here’s how the WBZ-TV Sports team sees Sunday night’s game playing out:
Steve Burton, WBZ-TV Sports
I don’t see New England losing two games in a row, even though Lions head coach Matt Patricia knows the Patriots inside and out. This game will be awkward for many of the Patriots who have the utmost respect for Patricia.
Patriots 28, Lions 17
Dan Roche, WBZ-TV Sports
The Patriots faced a team down in Jacksonville that had one player calling it, “the biggest game of my life,” and the entire Jags team came out and played like it. They took it right to the Pats. With that said, I thought the Pats responded and if Brady wasn’t strip-sacked, they would have had a chance to make it an eight-point game in the second half.
Matt Patricia’s 0-2 Lions made a boatload of mistakes (10 penalties and numerous bad throws) in a 30-27 loss at San Francisco last weekend. However, Matthew Stafford still threw for 347 yards and 3 touchdowns. They fought.
This is one of those games where the Patriots need to play a disciplined, patient game. The 49ers rushes for 190 yards, so look for Sony Michel, James White and company to take advantage. That would open up everything for Brady. Defensively, they can rush four as they did against Houston and get the job done. A test for the linebackers and defensive backs.
Patriots 35, Lions 21
Levan Reid, WBZ-TV Sports
I picked the Pats to beat the Jaguars last week, but honestly, I would have changed my pick. The second I set foot on TIAA Bank Field on Sunday and felt the 110 degree heat, I knew the Pats were going to lose. That game was another hot Patriots outing on the road in Florida in September. They NEVER do well in those games.
But Sunday’s contest against the Detroit Lions is far from that. The Lions are a very talented football team with solid players on offense. Matthew Stafford may be one of the best deep ball throwers in the league but right now, they are trying to find their way. The same goes for their defense under new coach Matt Patricia. The tug of war he’s got going on with his players is something that started in the preseason and has carried into the regular season.
As for New England, their mission is to erase what happened last Sunday. They haven’t loss back-to-back games since 2015, and I don’t think that streak will end now.
Bold Prediction: Sony Michel rushes for over 100 yards.
Patriots 35, Lions 14
Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
You almost have to feel bad for Matt Patricia in this spot, knowing that while staring down the barrel of an 0-3 start, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady are hopping the next flight to Detroit. That’s a tough situation.
And really, there’s no way that the Patriots should lose this game. Yes, last week exposed a number of issues on the roster, but that was also against arguably the best team in the AFC. The Lions? The Lions lost by 31 points to the New York Jets and a rookie QB making his first career start. Matthew Stafford has all the arm talent in the world, and his receiving corps is dangerous, but he’s not a heady enough quarterback to avoid throwing a costly pick or two in this game.
Plus, the Lions’ defense is just atrocious. I anticipate the Patriots will focus on running the ball, huddling up after every snap, and dedicate themselves to long scoring drives that keep the Lions’ offense pinned to the benches. The end result will be a low-scoring but comfortable Patriots victory.
Patriots 20, Lions 13
Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston
The Patriots should bounce back this weekend against a desperate Lions team, but I don’t think it will be particularly easy. Detroit is a mess at the moment, but their talented offense should give New England’s defense trouble, especially if Trey Flowers and Patrick Chung are both out. Matthew Stafford can put up some big numbers, and he has a trio of dangerous receivers in Golden Tate, Marvin Jones Jr. and Kenny Golladay. They should put up points against an undermanned New England secondary, but Stafford will also make a mistake or two (or three or four).
And if this game does turn into a shootout, Detroit’s defense is abysmal and Tom Brady should have plenty of time to pick them apart. They have been terrible against the run this season, so expect big things from anyone coming out of the New England backfield.
Patriots 31, Lions 24
The Patriots and Lions square off on Sunday night football, but WBZ-TV still has you covered before and after the game. Our pregame coverage begins at 11:30am Sunday morning with Patriots GameDay, and after the game you can catch all the reaction and analysis on Patriots 5th Quarter!