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Football fans across the Great Lakes State have had plenty to cheer about this year. Both the Michigan Wolverines and Detroit Lions are having fantastic seasons. Currently sitting atop the NFC North with a 9-4 record, the Lions have won four of their last six outings. The Lions now trail the Eagles (10-2), 49ers (9-3) and Cowboys (9-4) in the conference. Before their recent letdown in a 28-13 loss against last-place Chicago in Week 14, Detroit had a 99.5% chance of making the playoffs for the first time since 2016. Fans can browse some of the best sites in Michigan for competitive betting odds. And, if you believe this year is Detroit’s year, you take advantage of great lines for the Lions, who have a 6.7% chance of winning the Super Bowl. Coach Dan Campbell has inspired confidence in his team, who are looking to win their first playoff game in over 31 seasons—the longest active drought in the NFL.

NFC North Division Leading Lions Eye First Playoff Berth in Years

While the Lions enjoy a comfortable lead over their division rivals, costly mistakes and poor play as of late have fans less than confident that their team can make a deep playoff run. On Sunday, the Lions could muster only 267 total yards and committed three turnovers. Despite leading 13-10 at halftime, Dan Campebll’s squad seemed to take the rest of the afternoon off and were shut out in the second half. Typically a competent game manager, quarterback Jared Goff posted a QBR rating of just 54.6%. Goff completed 20/35 passes, throwing for 161 yards, one touchdown and two costly interceptions. The story of the afternoon was Goff’s inefficiency. The Lions’ leading receiver, Amon-Ra St. Brown, was targeted nine times but caught only three passes for 21 yards. And, coming off a huge game last week against New Orleans in which he posted nine receptions on nine targets for 140 yards and a touchdown, tight end Sam LaPorta was held to 23 yards on six targets.

The ground game was one of the only bright spots in the loss, as Detroit combined for 140 rushing yards. Jahmyr Gibbs tallied 66 yards on 11 carries and scored on a 12-yard run halfway through the second quarter. David Montgomery, for his part, matched Gibbs with 66 yards of his own but attempted just 10 carries—his second-lowest total of the season. The Lions have a fairly easy schedule remaining and will likely clinch their division, but will need to clean up their play and avoid any miscues if they want to win their first playoff game in over three decades.

College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Rose Bowl: Michigan vs. Alabama

At the collegiate level, the Michigan Wolverines are the top-ranked team in the nation and have a date with the Alabama Crimson Tide at the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day. The College Football Playoff Committee sent shockwaves worldwide with their selection of ‘Bama in the College Football Playoffs. The most notable snub was the undefeated Florida State Seminoles, who capped off their historic season with a 16-6 victory over Louisville to secure the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship. In a bitter consolation game, FSU will take on the one-loss Georgia Bulldogs in the Orange Bowl on December 30.

video of UM players left speechless as they reacted in real-time to the Playoff Committee’s announcement of their opponent has been scrutinized and used by some to suggest Jim Harbaugh’s team is intimidated by the matchup. Michigan’s coach has a 1-5 record in bowl games throughout his time in Ann Arbor but is adamant that his team—the first Big Ten team named the number one seed since the College Football Playoff era began in 2014—is up for the challenge. "No, we’re excited to face them," Harbaugh noted when asked if his team was unnerved upon learning of their opponent. "It’s iconic. It's Alabama. It’s Roll Tide. Doesn’t get any better, playing in the Rose Bowl. So just going to appreciate the tradition of the Rose Bowl and playing a great team like Alabama."

The season has not been without controversy. In November, coach Harbaugh served a three-game suspension imposed by the Big Ten following a sign-stealing investigation. It was alleged that recruiting analyst and low-level Wolverines staffer, Connor Stalions, bought tickets to the Wolverines' upcoming opponents' games and dispatched people to those games to capture, on camera, the teams' play signals. The team rallied behind their head coach, finishing the season undefeated before trouncing Iowa 26-0 in the Big Ten Championship game. The Wolverines bring confidence and have high expectations to beat Alabama and ultimately play for the National Title. Michigan opened as a -2.5 point favorite, but the line has been adjusted to -1.5 at the time of writing. Will this be the year Michigan stands atop college football for the first time since their 1997 championship season?

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