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NFL picks and predictions, Lions vs. Patriots 2014: Most experts leaning towards New England

After Aaron Rodgers, no quarterback has been hotter of late than Tom Brady.

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The Detroit Lions are tied for first place in their division and for second place in the NFC. They face their biggest challenge of the season Sunday when they take on the New England Patriots in Foxborough.

Detroit's defense has been one of the great stories of the 2014 season. Under the direction of new defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, the Lions have yielded the fewest yards and points of any team this season. Ndamukong Suh leads a dominant front four that also features the improved play of second-year end Ziggy Ansah. Yet for whatever reason, the offense hasn't held up its end of the bargain. Even with Calvin Johnson, Matthew Stafford, and Golden Tate in tow, the Lions offense has scored the 26th-fewest points per game. They'll need to perform better this week to stick with the high-flying Patriots.

Since being pronounced dead following a 41-14 dismantling in Kansas City, the Patriots have rebounded to win six straight. Tom Brady likewise has returned to vintage form, tossing 24 touchdowns against only five interceptions this season. All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski has contributed greatly to the offense's success, catching 70 yards or more in five of the team's last six games. He also has nine touchdowns on the season. New England has yet to lose a home game in 2014.

Despite Detroit's 7-3 record, New England is pretty convincingly the popular choice. Every member of CBS Sports' eight-man panel sided with the Patriots this weekend.

CBS Sports senior writer Pete Prisco had this to say about the game:

The Lions are playing a second straight road game outside the division. And this one is a tough one against arguably the league's best team. New England is playing great football on both sides of the ball. Detroit has the top-rated defense, but Tom Brady will carve up the secondary. Patriots keep rolling.

Here at SB Nation, five of our seven experts are leaning towards New England.

Ryan Van Bibber Stephen White David Fucillo Danny Kelly PFT Commenter Matt Ufford Joel Thorman


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