David Montgomery returns Thursday night


Rey Del Rio/Getty Images. Pictured: David Montgomery.

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David Montgomery 50+ rushing yards (-128)

Lions vs. Chiefs | 8:20 p.m. ET

Let’s state the obvious: no Lions player receives more hype than youngster Jahmir Gibbs.

While the action deserves attention, it wouldn’t be fair to overlook newly signed David Montgomery’s third-round selection in a rejuvenated backcourt.

After signing a three-year, $18 million deal, the Lions are committed to capitalizing on the veteran player in an important Week 1 meeting against the Chiefs.

Both Gibbs and Montgomery will be promoted, with Montgomery presumably inheriting Jamal Williams’ traditional rushing role while Gibbs taking over D’Andre Swift’s pass-catching role. Last year’s Lions duo rushed an average of 97.4 yards per game. According to Pro Football Focus, Williams accounted for 61.9% of all transfers.

Montgomery had four consecutive seasons with 800-plus rushing yards, but he never played an offensive line as talented as the Lions.

According to Pro Football Focus, this group ranks fifth among all teams. The return of RG Halapoulivaati Vaitai from a season-ending injury is expected to improve her performance compared to the 2022-23 season.

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Face-to-face, the Chiefs’ opponent averaged 4.4 yards per rushing attempt (15th) in the middle of the pack, but the crucial advantage behind this play is that the Lions’ running department may not have to contend with All-Pro defensive tackle Chris Jones. in the first week. Jones’ likely absence would leave a huge hole in the Chiefs’ speedy defence.

The Lions will have to hold their own in this game, with Detroit going into Wednesday as low as 5.5 points. If the Chiefs miss star tight end Travis Kelsey, the script of the game can dictate Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson to establish the run with confidence, control the pace and do everything he can to keep Patrick Mahomes off the field.

I expect at least 12-15 tries for Montgomery in his debut, and I like his chances of getting past the rushing yards prop due to the improved offensive line and the absence of his opponent’s best defensive player.

Pick: David Montgomery 50+ Rush Yards (-128)

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