Sports

Lions favored vs. Commanders after 24 straight games as underdogs


The Lions are actually favored to beat Washington in Week 2...let that sink in

The Lions are actually favored to beat Washington in Week 2…let that sink in
Illustration: Getty Images

In back-to-back weeks, the Washington Commanders have circled the drain. In a matchup of turd-bowl franchises racing to the sewers, Sunday’s Week 1 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Washington didn’t stink for a change.

Sure, Carson Wentz threw a pick to a rookie outside linebacker, but he also dropped two raindrops into rookie Jahan Dotson’s hands and closely resembled the top-10 quarterback he was projected to be four years ago. However, it was against a Jaguars team that was dead last in offense and defense in 2021, picked first overall in their second consecutive draft, and then outspent the budget for an entire season of a Marvel Disney+ series in free agency.

Unfortunately, the Caesars Sportsbook oddsmakers aren’t convinced. Washington is a 2.5-point dog to the Lions in Week 2. Why is that shocking? Prior, the Lions hadn’t been favored in 24 straight games. The Lions went 3-13 last season, and their biggest acquisition of the offseason was D.J. Chark. And unlike Washington, they lost a close one in Week 1 to a much more potent Eagles squad. Jalen Hurts, Miles Sanders, and A.J. Brown romped all over the Lions’ defense. Yet, you could argue Detroit was one of the most impressive losers of Week 1 because of their second-half offensive surge. The bar is low when you’re the Lions, so you have to take the moral victories where you can find them.

For years, Washington has been descending into a bottom-tier franchise. In 2009, Detroit snapped its 19-game losing streak by defeating Washington 19-14.

Sunday’s matchup feels like a passing of the torch — if both teams were covered in kerosene, and held it too close to their chests. For decades, the Lions have been the NFL’s kings of the porcelain throne franchises. The Browns and Lions boast the NFL’s worst winning percentages since 2000, followed closely behind by the Jags, Texans, Raiders, and Commanders. Cleveland investing its future in an accused sexual assaulter like Deshaun Watson (he denies any wrongdoing) boosts their claim. Jacksonville has been booty as well, but the Jags had some degree of playoff success over the last decade. The Texans’ football operations are being managed by an exec whose prior job experience was character coach for the Pats and team chaplain for the Kansas City Chiefs. Yet, Detroit has been so dreadful that two of the greatest Lions in history, Barry Sanders and Calvin Johnson, walked away at the top of their game. However, the Daniel Snyder era in D.C. has been such an escalating trainwreck for the Commies, that Washington is seemingly coming for that title, too.

During the Commanders’ win over Jacksonville, Washington reported the league’s lowest attendance. It’s a stunning reversal of fortunes. That apathy for the Commies’ debut is the continuance of a decade-long trend. From 1999 through 2012, Washington managed to cement itself in the top three in attendance. By 2021, the team was 31st in average home attendance behind Detroit, but last in home capacity percentage because D.C.’s FedEx Field can host almost 30,000 more fans. Officially, however, FedEx’s capacity is listed at approximately 67,000. However, due to some creative stadium feng shui, the Commanders have covered or eliminated approximately 24,000 seats.

The worst part about it is that Washington has advantages that cities like Detroit, Cleveland, and Jacksonville don’t. Their fanbase had been slavishly devoted to the team, they were situated outside the nation’s capital and had enough cultural cachet to get football fans to wear pig snouts and dresses.

Somehow, the Snyders flushed every advantage they inherited down the drain. Sexual harassment accusations, investigations by multiple state attorney generals, and an incompetent rebranding process have their stock crashing. Losing to the Lions may be memorialized as the moment when the Commies descend to their throne.



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