Matt: Lions 27, Rams 24
Both offenses should be able to score points in this matchup. If the Lions defensive front four can hurry rookie QB Sam Bradford, they should be able to come up with the necessary stops to win this game. On offense, the Lions will do just fine so long as Shaun Hill takes care of the ball. The Rams have won a couple of games, but they’re still not a good team. This is a need to win game for the Lions.
Latif: I expect a 30-17 Lions win.
The way I see it, the Lions won’t be able to stop Steven Jackson on the ground. The Lions are giving up 4.8 yards per carry through the first four weeks, and that trend will continue in week five. On the other hand, our corners, who are the biggest weakness on this team, will matchup favorably against the St. Louis Rams receivers, who I consider to be the worst receiving corp in the NFL. That means Sam Bradford won’t have too many places to go with the ball when the D-line does bring the pressure.
On offense, the Lions offensive line is good enough to pass protect against Chris Long and James Hall. The problem will be dealing with their blitzing linebackers, but any blitzes from the linebackers also leaves our tight ends open in the flat. Plus, Shaun Hill looked settled in as a starter last week and threw the ball very efficiently and showed great mobility against the best defense in the NFC. The Rams, although much improved defensive unit from last year, are nowhere near as good as the Packers, so I expect Hill to put up great numbers.
All in all, a lot of people are worried about the “Steven Jackson effect”. He literally won them the game last season, but the way I see it: Calvin Johnson cancels out Steven Jackson, so the Lions should be great shape to win their first game and they should win it with a sizable margin.
Zac: Lions get their first win, 30-27.
I will admit that my pick is made with my heart as much as my head. This is a game that almost everybody marked down as a win when the schedule came out and despite what has occurred so far, there is no reason that the Lions can’t win it. Unfortunately, there is also a strong possibility they won’t win it.
Shaun Hill has been good, not great, but I can’t honestly say that the Lions would be in a drastically different place if Matthew Stafford hadn’t gotten hurt. Hill has thrown some poorly timed interceptions but he has also kept the offense moving with surprising regularity. The offense should be able to put up some points once again.
The biggest variable comes on defense. Steven Jackson is a legitimate threat to do some serious damage. DeAndre Levy will be sorely missed once again and the pressure will be on the Lions defenders to bring down Jackson when they have the chance. Broken tackles and big gains will spell trouble. The front four hasn’t disappointed this year. Their ability to get to Sam Bradford and force some mistakes could be the difference in the game. Sack him, hit him, and knock him down time after time and see how he responds. He may be talented but he is still young.
That’s what we have to say, what are your predictions?