DETROIT – Week 1 of the NFL ends tonight, as the Detroit Lions face off against the New York Jets on Monday Night Football at 7:10 p.m. on ESPN.
Here is what experts are predicting for tonight's game at Ford Field.
Michael Rothstein, ESPN: Lions 35, Jets 23
Reason why: "It's a first-time head coach (Matt Patricia) facing a quarterback (Darnold) making his first start. Considering Patricia's familiarity with some of the Jets' personnel and with coach Todd Bowles from his time in New England, that should be enough to help the Lions fluster Darnold. Detroit has won six of its past seven season openers and usually plays well on Monday nights, going 2-0 last season."
Rich Cimini, ESPN: Lions 27, Jets 23
Reason why: "The Jets have a rookie quarterback in Sam Darnold playing behind an offensive line that didn't play together for a single snap in the preseason. The Lions have their own issues, especially on both lines, but they have Matthew Stafford and the home crowd. In the end, the Jets will be undermined by their woeful pass rush (only 28 sacks last season) and fans will be second-guessing them for not offering more for Khalil Mack."
Elliot Harrison, NFL.com: Lions 27, Jets 23
Reason why: "There are a few folks who feel that the Jets will deliver an upset in Detroit. That's putting a lot of confidence in Sam Darnold, because the Lions' offense will move the ball. One of the things to watch in this matchup is the running-game mixture. Not only in how much support Todd Bowles and the staff will provide for their (uber-talented) rookie QB, but also in how the workload is split between projected RB1 Isaiah Crowell and Bilal Powell.
That same point of interest is going on with Detroit, as well. The Lions drafted Kerryon Johnson and signed LeGarrette Blount, with Theo Riddick still contributing. If Johnson is as effective as many of his fans have predicted, Blount is a goal-line hoss and Riddick converts passing downs into first downs, this offense will hum in the Motor City."
Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press: Lions 27, Jets 19
Reason why: "The Lions didn’t look very good this preseason. Their first-team offense didn’t score a touchdown and their defense couldn’t stop a soul, but I still can’t see them losing Game 1 of Matt Patricia era. The Jets have a promising future in front of them with Darnold at quarterback, and they have enough of a running game to keep this game close. But Patricia's defense isn't an easy one to prepare for, and the Lions are bound to force a Darnold mistake or two. When they do, Stafford and the offense have to be ready to capitalize. If the Lions struggle out of the gate, it could make for a very long season."