The Detroit Lions (and your NFL betting picks) will only go as far as D’Andre Swift takes them. Yes, it’s true that the Lions signed Jamaal Williams to a two-year deal in the off-season. And it’s also true that new Head Coach Dan Campbell has made it clear that his plan for running backs this year will be to have a one-two punch.
But it doesn’t matter. Swift has proven this year that he can still produce big numbers while sharing touches with his backfield mate. Although Swift fans had dreams of him being a three-down back this year after he flashed brilliance down the stretch last year, the reality is that the days of the bell cow running back in the NFL are pretty much gone.
Sure, there are a handful of elite backs like McCaffrey, Kamara, and Henry that will get their 25-30 touches per game, but that’s now the exception, not the rule.
Swift is coming off an excellent game last Sunday where he had 17 touches, 104 yards from scrimmage, and a rushing touchdown. Will his production carry over to Week 6?
D’Andre Swift Stats
Through rankings and projections, many analysts considered Swift the best running back in the 2020 draft class. The Georgia standout shredded defenses throughout his college career, piling up 2,885 yards in three seasons at a 6.6 YPC clip. He also added 666 yards receiving to go with his 25 total TDs.
He ended up being the second RB taken in the draft (three picks behind Clyde Edwards-Helaire), landing in the not-so-ideal spot of Detroit. Then head coach Matt Patricia was determined to keep Swift on a short leash early in the season, sticking to a committee approach.
When he finally decided to take the training wheels off, Swift shined. He ended up averaging 27.5 yards receiving last year, which ranked 7th out of the 41 qualified RBs. This year, Swift has gained 277 yards after the catch, which is the most in the NFL among running backs.
New Coach and New Offensive Coordinator
The Lions have a new coach and new offensive coordinator: Dan Campbell and Anthony Lynn, respectively. Both of these coaches are good news for Swift. Campbell has breathed fresh life into the organization, and by all accounts, the players love him.
As for Lynn, he’s a running back’s dream. Since 2016, running backs in a Lynn offense has averaged 28.3% of total targets – think Austin Ekeler. This type of system bodes well for a dynamic receiving back like Swift, who already has 29 receptions on the season through five weeks.
Although Swift has been splitting touches with Williams, he’s still a focal point of the Lions’ offense and has been getting the job done. The Lions have shown heart this season, and despite not yet having a win, you get the feeling their fortunes are about to change.
Swift has put up 442 total yards this year, but it feels like he’s about to break a big one soon, and it might just be this week against Cincinnati.
Here are a few bets that I like this week.
- -110 Lions +3
- -115 Both teams to score 20+ points
- +350 Lions to win by a margin of 1-6
I think the Lions will keep it close this week if they don’t win outright. But if they do win, it won’t be by much, which is why I like the big odds on the 1-6 margin.
Can the Lions Pull It Off?
All signs are pointing to D’Andre Swift and the Lions getting ready to bust out. Their lack of wins isn’t for lack of effort, and I believe their hard work will pay off soon, perhaps even this week.
For more odds on Swift, the Lions, and all of the NFL, check the daily Michigan sports betting lines to get your dose of the action.