Luck has surpassed his lofty rookie expectations, leading the Colts to a 7-4 record and the No. 5 seed in the competitive AFC. He ranks seventh in the league in passing yards (3,205), and his five rushing touchdowns puts him ahead of star running backs Chris Johnson (four) and Jamaal Charles (three).
Luck is tied for the third-most interceptions in the league with 13, but his turnovers haven't hurt the Colts in close games. Indy is 6-1 in games decided by seven points or less, and Luck has led the Colts to victories in six of their last seven games.
Meanwhile, the Lions have crumbled in recent weeks, dropping three straight games. After losing back-to-back contests against NFC North rivals, they fell 34-31 (OT) to the Houston Texans in a Thanksgiving Day thriller.
Stafford leads the NFL in passing yards (3,429), but he hasn't been able to lead his team to success in close games like Luck. The Lions have lost their last three games by an average of just 5.6 points, and each of their seven losses have been by 10 points or less.
These numbers don't bode well for Detroit, as this game will likely come down to the wire. Luckily for the Lions, they will have Ndamukong Suh, who was fined—but not suspended—for his kick to Matt Schaub's groin last week.
When: Sunday, Dec. 2 at 1 p.m. ET
Where: Ford Field, Detroit, MI
TV: CBS (check local listings)
Live Stream: NFL Sunday Ticket
Spread Info: Detroit Lions -5 (via Bovada.lv)
Over/Under: 51 (via Bovada.lv)
Injury Report—As of 11/29 (via ESPN)
Donald Brown—RB, probable
Vontae Davis—CB, probable
Tom Zbikowski—S, questionable
Mikel Leshoure—RB, questionable
Calvin Johnson—WR, probable
Fantasy Big Plays
Colts: Andrew Luck, QB
The Colts offense is devoid of major fantasy contributors, but Luck is definitely a solid option this week. He's averaged 306.2 yards per game in his last five outings, and he's a threat to find the end zone through the air or on the ground.
He's also facing a defense that gave up 315 yards and a touchdown to Matt Schaub on Thanksgiving and 236 yards and two TDs to Aaron Rodgers the week before. Unless you have a top-three QB on your roster, give the start to Luck this week.
Projected stats: 23-of-41 for 276 yards and two touchdowns; five carries for 24 yards
Lions: Calvin Johnson, WR
Johnson is a must-start every game, as he's fifth in the league in catches (73) and first in receiving yards (1,257). This week is no different, as he should be able to find pockets in an Indy defense that ranks 19th in passing yards allowed (233.8 per game) and is tied for 22nd in passing TDs allowed (19).
Johnson has only scored four touchdowns this season, but he's found the end zone in each of the last three games. Definitely start him this Sunday.
Projected stats: seven catches for 119 yards and two touchdowns
Key to Victory: Fourth-Quarter Execution
As I mentioned above, these two teams are on opposite ends of the spectrum as far as success in tight games. When the score is close in the fourth quarter, Indy has thrived, while Detroit has often wilted.
The Colts certainly aren't as good as Houston, and I'd put the battle-tested Packers and Bears ahead of them as well. That said, if Detroit struggles once again to execute late in the fourth quarter, they will lose their fourth straight.
This should be an excellent game, and I'm expecting a strong offensive output from both teams. The rushing attacks leave plenty to be desired, but with two exciting quarterbacks and a couple of explosive receivers, this should be an aerial lover's dream.
At the end of the day, I'm going to give the advantage to the Lions, who are in full-on desperation mode. After two weeks of barely losing to top-tier teams, they should be ready to come out hot against a young Colts team that's mostly been feasting on bottom-dwellers.
It will be close, but I'm expecting Indy to drop to 2-4 on the road as the Lions pick up a much-needed victory.
Final Score: Lions 30—Colts 24
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