Lions vs Jets Week 15 Picks and Predictions: Detroit's Postseason Hopes Grow

Detroit's won five of six and it's looking like a legit postseason contender. The Lions are in a similar boat to the Jets, who will turn back to Zach Wilson this week. Check out our NFL betting picks as the Lions head to New York.

Last Updated: Dec 18, 2022 8:30 AM ET Read Time: 4 min
Jamaal Williams Detroit Lions NFL
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

The New York Jets welcome the Detroit Lions to the Meadowlands in Week 15 of NFL action on Sunday afternoon.

These perennial doormats have emerged as possible playoff teams this season with the 7-6 Jets looking to avoid a three-game slide as they host the red-hot Lions.

NFL betting lines have bounced back and forth between these two sides with the Jets installed as 1.5-point faves earlier in the week but now sitting at +1.5 after news broke that starting quarterback Mike White won't suit up.

Here are my best free Lions vs. Jets NFL picks and predictions for December 18.

Lions vs Jets best odds

Lions vs Jets picks and predictions

The Lions have won five of their last six games and have gone 6-0 ATS during that span. Their last three games have been the most impressive, as they lost on a last-second field goal to the Bills, routed the Jaguars 40-14, and then beat the Vikings 34-23 last week.

They were surprisingly installed as 2.5-point faves against the NFC North-leading Vikings but proved oddsmakers right by rolling up 464 yards of offense while their defense came up with big plays when needed.

That said, Detroit's secondary continued to struggle and gave up 425 yards through the air to Kirk Cousins. That likely won't be the case against a Jets offense that won't be able to move the ball on Sunday without Mike White

White wasn't setting the world on fire but he had been solid and after getting beat up by the Bills last week, he'll miss Sunday with a rib injury. That means another kick at the can for Zach Wilson, who was benched after posting the worst QB rating in the league for the second-straight year.

The Jets are also banged up on the offensive line and although undrafted rookie running back Bam Knight has been solid between the tackles, he isn't on the same level as injured second-rounder Breece Hall. 

The Jets' defense has been terrific this season ranking sixth in the league in EPA/play. However, they're a modest 22nd in rush EPA and the Lions love to pound the rock with 127.5 rushing yards per game.

The Jets also do a great job at defending passes on the outside with cornerbacks Sauce Gardner and D.J. Reed but are less effective in the middle of the field, which is where Lions QB Jared Goff likes to throw. 

One other area where the Jets' stop unit has been below average is in the red zone, where they rank 20th in the league by allowing foes to score on 57.6% of trips inside their 20-yard line. That number has jumped to 71.4% in their last three games which is bad news against a Lions attack that leads the NFL in red-zone scoring percentage (75%). 

The Lions should be able to do just enough on offense to stay ahead of Wilson and the Jets. 

My best bet: Lions -1 (-110 at DraftKings)

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Lions vs Jets spread analysis

The Jets are one game above .500 despite losing three of their last four games. After an ugly 10-3 loss to the Patriots in Week 11, they benched Wilson and installed White as their starter.

White led them to a 31-10 rout of Chicago the following week and threw for 369 yards in a Week 14 loss to the Vikings. He was sacked four times in last week's 20-12 loss to the Bills and was forced to leave twice due to the rib injury that will keep him sidelined this week. 

Wilson was the second pick in 2021 but has been a complete disappointment so far. Sure, poor blocking hasn't helped but his horrible accuracy and decision-making are largely to blame as well. With Wilson slinging the ball, Offensive Rookie of the Year favorite Garrett Wilson will have a tough time making an impact on Sunday. 

New York's defense has been carrying the team this season but could be without one of its best players in Quinnen Williams. Williams leads the team with 11 sacks and grades as the fourth-best interior lineman in the league according to PFF. He has missed practice all week although the team has said that he's "50-50" to go this weekend.

The Lions have looked very impressive since November but it's worth pointing out that even early in the season they were very competitive in defeats to the Dolphins, Vikings, and Eagles.

The Lions are seventh in the league in DVOA offense thanks to a balanced attack. They have a strong offensive line, effective running backs in Jamaal Williams and D'Andre Swift, and Goff has been very efficient ranking sixth in the league in QBR.

However, their defense has struggled and is 21st in the league in pass DVOA while ranking 22nd in rush DVOA. That said, their pass rush has been getting more pressure over the last month and they held Pro Bowl running back Dalvin Cook to just 23 yards on 15 carries last week.

Lions vs Jets Over/Under analysis

The total for this game opened at 47 before dropping to 43.5. There are a few reasons for that, including the absence of White and the cold weather on Sunday, but even without those factors, that opening total might have been a tad too high.

Keep in mind that although Detroit's offense is eighth in the league in EPA/play it hasn't been anywhere near as productive against strong defenses. 

The Lions were shut out by the Pats in Week 5 before being held to six points by Miami in Week 7. Although they scored 25 points versus Buffalo in Week 12 they generated a modest 326 yards of offense in that contest and benefited from a big punt return and the fast indoor surface at Ford Field. 

Meanwhile, as poor as the Lions' defense has been they've looked better in recent weeks. While they still rank 31st in the league in EPA/play on defense they have been 14th in that category since Week 9. They should be able to keep an offense led by Wilson in check.

Lions vs Jets betting trend to know

The Lions are 5-1 ATS in their last six road games versus a team with a winning home record. Find more NFL betting trends for Lions vs. Jets.

Lions vs Jets game info

Location: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ
Date: Sunday, December 18, 2022
Kickoff: 1:00 p.m. ET
Opening odds: Jets -3, O/U 50.0

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