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Lions may have cause to feel overlooked by NFC championship spread against 49ers

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Has anyone informed Dan Campbell about the NFC championship game spread? The Detroit Lions are currently seven-point underdogs to the San Francisco 49ers.

If not, they really should. It would be interesting to see his reaction to that information. It seems like perfect bulletin board material for a coach who made a name for himself with a line about biting off kneecaps. He doesn’t strike me as someone who sees himself or his team as inferior to anyone.

This is not to say that the Lions are not underdogs in this game. Given what we’ve seen during the 2023 season, the spread makes sense. The 49ers have been dominant for the past two years, while the Lions are relatively new to this level of competition. However, that’s not the way football teams think. Before they can be great, they have to believe it first. I can assure you that Detroit expects to win.

The Lions are one of the last four teams standing and finished with a 12-5 record, the same as San Francisco. Yet, oddsmakers consider their opponent to be a touchdown better than them. Teams have used less as motivation.

Some teams feel disrespected by the thought of being underdogs at all, let alone seven-point dogs. The Baltimore Ravens were upset at being 4.5-point underdogs to San Francisco in December, and they proved they had a right to feel that way by dominating the Niners and getting the win.

Now, that same dominant Ravens team is only favored by 3.5 points in their title game against the Kansas City Chiefs. So, what does it say that Detroit’s spread is double that number? If I’m Campbell, it says we don’t belong on the field with the 49ers. It says they don’t believe in us. It says we shouldn’t even show up for the game. Whatever I need it to say to fuel my team’s fire. It doesn’t take much more than a perceived slight to get athletes going, after all.

Time will tell if the Lions are being properly handicapped, but Campbell is coaching to win and a spread isn’t changing that. He might as well use it to his advantage and fire up the squad.

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