The Detroit Lions, coming off a four-win season, are being projected as NFC playoff contenders again in 2013 based on game-by-game point spreads released by the Cantor Gaming sportsbooks in Las Vegas.
The Lions opened as favorites in eight of their first 15 games while being underdogs in six and a pick'em in one. (Lines were not posted for the final week of the season because playoff-clinching teams typically rest their starters in those games.)
Detroit, which lost its final eight games last year, is favored to win six of its first eight games, albeit by very slight margins in each case.
The top five teams in the NFC, based on these numbers, are San Francisco (favored in 13 games), Seattle (also 13), Green Bay (11), Atlanta (10) and New Orleans (9).
Then comes Detroit, Chicago and Washington, each favored eight times, suggesting that those three conceivably could be battling for the sixth -- and final -- NFC playoff spot.
Despite a 2-6 home record in 2012, the Lions are favored...