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Lions turn from hunter into hunted

POSTED September 22, 2011 10:18 p.m.

Now that’s more like it.
Pro Picks rallied as if Josh Freeman was leading the charge, going 11-4-1 against the spread and 13-3 straight up. That was as impressive a turnaround as what the Steelers and Titans displayed in Week 2 after ugly openers.
Or as noteworthy as what is going on for Detroit. The Lions not only are 2-0, but this week are road favorites. In a division game, no less.
The Lions’ roar has been heard in Tampa and at Ford Field, with Detroit outscoring the Bucs and then the Chiefs by a combined 75-23. This isn’t the team we’ve grown to ignore except when they host the early Thanksgiving Day game — or when they are going 0-16.
Nope, these Lions are a 3½-point choice at Minnesota, and rightfully so after the power they have shown. The Vikings are 0-2 and, while they haven’t been nearly as hapless as some of the other winless squads, they twice have blown late leads.
In this game, they won’t likely have a late lead. Or any sort of lead, unless the Lions get cocky.
“We have some experienced players and they know that two games don’t make a season,” Lions coach Jim Schwartz said. “We have a hard-working group of players that understand that it’s not about what you’ve done in the past, it’s what you do in the future ... nobody’s trying to rain on any parades or anything else, but it’s two games.”
Soon to be three games won. ... LIONS, 24-16

New England (minus 9) at Buffalo — We usually like home underdogs. In this case, though, see last week: “Until otherwise notified, the Patriots will be the choice to cover, whatever the spread.”
Miami (plus 2½) at Cleveland — Let the weirdness continue for Dolphins: lose at home, win on the road.
N.Y. Jets (minus 3½) at Oakland — This would be the upset special if the Raiders were healthier. They should at least cover. ... JETS, 20-19
Green Bay (minus 3½) at Chicago — Pack is in Super Bowl form, losing players (Nick Collins) and winning games. ... PACKERS, 28-16
Houston (plus 4) at New Orleans — Inside the Superdome could be a true proving ground for the Texans. Or not. ... SAINTS, 34-27
Atlanta (plus 1½) at Tampa Bay — If this game is close in final period, count on Freeman and the Bucs. ... BUCCANEERS, 24-23
Denver (plus 7) at Tennessee — Titans come off big win without getting much from Chris Johnson. They’ll get plenty this week. ... TITANS, 24-20
San Francisco (plus 2½) at Cincinnati — Niners’ first road game — and they will remain in the East before their second next week at Philadelphia. ... 49ERS, 16-13
Jacksonville (plus 3½) at Carolina — Time for Cam Newton to either come down to Earth, or get his first pro win. ... PANTHERS, 27-16
Kansas City (plus 14½) at San Diego (3:05 p.m., CBS) — Chiefs have been league’s worst team by far. Can’t believe they are really that bad. ... CHARGERS, 30-20
Baltimore (minus 3½) at St. Louis — Winless and battered is no way to face the angry (at themselves) Ravens. ... RAVENS, 17-10
Pittsburgh (minus 10½) at Indianapolis — How juicy: Big Ben vs. four-time MVP Peyton ... oh, wait. Wrong year. ... STEELERS, 22-7
Arizona (minus 3) at Seattle — OK, forget about that attraction to home underdogs, considering these last three picks. ... CARDINALS, 23-10
Washington (OFF) at Dallas, Monday night (7 p.m. ESPN) — Redskins can stamp themselves as a real contender in NFC East with a win. Tony Romo’s injured ribs force this one off the board. ... COWBOYS, 26-21
N.Y. Giants (OFF) at Philadelphia — Michael Vick’s status clouds this game and eliminates any betting line. But Eagles still are the healthier (and superior) team. ... EAGLES, 24-17
RECORD: Against spread: 11-4-1 (overall 17-13-2). Straight up: 13-3 (overall 19-13).
Best Bet: 1-1 against spread, 1-1 straight up.
Upset Special: 1-1 against spread, 1-1 straight up.


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