The Detroit Lions have put an end to a couple of ongoing trends with recent regular-season victories against the New York Giants. A 24-10 win at MetLife Stadium in a Monday Night Football game played during Week Two of the 2017 NFL season was Detroit's first road victory against the Giants since 2004, ending a two-game losing streak there. And Detroit's 35-14 victory over the Giants, also on a Monday Night Football broadcast to open the 2014 season, was the first home-field victory by the Lions over the Giants since 1983.
That win ended a four-game winless skid, and Detroit's 13-10 triumph at home over the Giants in the 2008 preseason halted a one-game losing streak and was their first win in a home exhibition game against the Giants in a half century. The Lions previously beat the Giants 24-17 at Briggs Stadium in 1958. Prior to that game, Detroit had won three out of four from the Giants at home and did so in impressive fashion, winning those three games by an average margin of 13.6 points per game.
The NF-Who? - This doesn't happen very often to the Giants, that they face a fellow NFC club in preseason play. You have to go all the way back to 2012, when they fell 20-17 at home to the Chicago Bears, to find an all-NFC preseason game featuring the Giants as one of the teams. Maybe that's a good thing, though. The Giants are 2-5 straight up in their last seven preseason games against NFC opposition, and 1-3 straight up in their last four games against NFC North opponents, including that 13-10 loss at Detroit in 2008.
Kings Of Nothing - When the games are meaningless, the Lions tend to turn in some meaningful performances. You could call Detroit the kings of the preseason. In the last decade, the Lions are 29-11 in the preseason, a .725 winning percentage. The've gone 3-1 in three of the last five years and 4-0 twice since 2008, including the 2008 preseason, which preceded the Lions becoming the first team in NFL history to endure an 0-16 regular season.
Good News, Old News - If you are a Giants fans, you will be happy to know that twice in their last four preseason visits to Detroit, the Giants have posted shutout victories. The only problem was those wins were a long time ago. There was a 17-0 triumph in 1957, followed by a 38-0 whitewash in 1959. That was when Charley Conerly was New York's quarterback, Frank Gifford and Alex Webster lined up in the backfield and Andy Robustelli and Sam Huff keyed the defense.
Play The Giants, See America - The Lions and Giants have clashed 15 times in the preseason since 1949, and you'd need a road map of the U.S.A. to plot all the places where they've blocked and tackled each other. There were two stops in New Haven. Oddly enough, Cleveland played host to three Giants-Lions preseason games from 1963-65, two of them won by Detroit. Between 1949-54, they played twice in Dallas and once each in Minneapolis and in Norman, Okla. The Lions were 6-2-1 in these neutral-site games.
Playoff Payoffs - The Lions haven't won a playoff game since 1991, but they have been postseason participants three times since 2011. A dismal 3-13 in 2017, the Giants are coming off their worst-ever 16-game season, but were a playoff team in 2016. Bovada lists the Lions as +275 to make the playoffs in 2018, and -350 to miss out for the second season in succession. Bovada has the Giants at -500 to fail to make the playoffs and +350 to get into the postseason.
Saquon's The One - Saquon Barkley was a triple threat at Penn State as a runner, receiver and a return man, and BetOnline sees that trio of talents making Barkley into a quadruple threat. They view him as the runaway favorite to be the 2018 NFL offensive rookie of the year. BetOnline places Barkley as the +140 chalk to capture the award, well ahead of Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (+400), Buffalo QB Josh Allen (+900) and Arizona QB Josh Rosen (+900).
The New Coach Smell - Both the Giants and Lions enter the season with new coaches at the helm. Matt Patricia replaced the fired Jim Caldwell in Detroit, while former Minnesota Vikings offensive coordinator Pat Shurmer is the new head man for the Giants. Ben McAdoo, the guy Shurmer replaces, guided the Giants to the playoffs in his first season at the helm in 2016. In 2014, Caldwell also got the Lions to postseason play in his first season. The bar has been set for the new guys, and the pressure is on.
The Decline Of Eli - Odds are a quarterback will be named MVP of the NFL at the conclusion of the 2018 season. After all, that's been the case every year since 2013 and in 10 of the last 11 seasons. The award has gone to a quarterback 38 times over the years, but it's doubtful that there will be much chance that the quarterback of either of these teams will be in contention to win the honor as league MVP during the upcoming season.
Giants quarterback Eli Manning has won two Super Bowls. Up until last season, he was the only QB to beat New England's Tom Brady in a Super Bowl, and he'd done that twice. But last season was a disaster for Manning. He was benched for the first time in his career, ending his consecutive starts streak at 210 games, second-longest by a QB in NFL history. The question is has Manning's skill set declined, or was he merely victimized by a bad team in 2017? Bovada seems to think the latter, pegging him at +5000 to be MVP.
There's been little evidence of decline in Matthew Stafford's game, but he does play for the Lions, and that has a tendency to hold great players back and eventually crush their souls. Just ask Barry Sanders. As part of the only NFC team that's never played in the Super Bowl, it would really take some kind of special season for Stafford to be MVP, explaining why he's listed by Bovada at +3300, higher odds than even Indianapolis QB Andrew Luck (+3000) who didn't play last season due to injury.