Matt: The Lions are no longer a horrible team, but they’re not to the point that I can pick them over the Jets. I think Matt Stafford will have a better game than the Sanchize, but it might not be enough. The Lions will hang in the game, but the New York defense will be able to come up with enough key stops to to prevent the upset. Jets 20, Lions 17
Latif: Obviously, this weeks game against the Jets is a really tough one, but I think this game and the matchups involved are being overblown a little.
I think the first thing that Lions fans need to understand is that the Jets defense isn’t as good as its made out to be (I’m not saying its not good). The much heralded Jets pass defense is actually giving up one yard less than the Lions pass defense, and has allowed one less passing touchdown and intercepted three less passes than the Lions. Quarterbacks like Chad Henne (363 yards, 2TDs, 1 INT) and Brett Favre (263 yards, 3TDs, 1 INT) have had good days against the Jets. So, with those numbers in mind, I don’t expect too much of a fall off from Matthew Stafford this week. I still expect him to throw for 2+ TDs, but I would expect an interception, but that will happen when you’re throwing the ball 40+ times a game. The question will be how much the Lions can and how much they should run the ball against the 4th best run-stopping defense in the NFL. I think the best way to utilize Jahvid Best and Kevin Smith would be to throw quick screens to them (something the Lions are very good at) and get them the ball when they are matched up against the Jets outside linebackers.
On defense, I think the biggest questions will be whether or not the front four, or even the front seven can get pressure on Mark Sanchez. I think the defensive ends, Cliff Avril and Kyle Vanden Bosch, have their work cut out for them facing a pair of Pro Bowl caliber tackles in D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Damien Woody. However, the Lions defensive tackles, Ndamukong Suh, Corey Williams and even Sammie Lee Hill, will have a favorable matchup against journeyman left guard Matt Slauson and good but not great right guard Brandon Moore. The other big problem with the Jets is their run game. The Lions are not good at stopping the run, giving up 4.9 yards a carry, and it will be interesting to see if Ashlee Palmer, Bobby Carpenter, DeAndre Levy and Julian Peterson can stop LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene.
All in all, I think the Jets offense scares me more than the defense. The defense is good, but not great. Plus, the Lions offense is used to playing talented, and top ranked defenses. I think in the end, the game will be close, but the Lions should win by a score of 28-24.
Zac: OK Lions fans, you want progress? Then let’s see the Lions beat the Jets. The old saying goes that if you want to be the best, you have to beat the best. It is arguable whether or not the Jets are the best, but they are certainly a lot better than the Lions and will serve as a more than capable measuring stick for the Lions.
The Jets defense rightfully gets a lot of hype. No matter what the statistics say, the Jets are regarded as one of the best defensive teams in the league. The Lions have focused their rebuilding attention on the offensive side of the ball and have a talented, but young, set of assets. I am really looking forward to how they handle Sunday’s game. If I had to guess I would say that it will be a mixed bag of breathtaking plays and maddening mistakes.
On the other side of the ball the Lions will make stopping the run job number one. Their front four has gotten a lot of attention over the last few weeks but most of it has been for their ability to get to the quarterback in passing situations. It will be important for them to show that they can also do the job of stopping the run against one of the premier running teams in the league. The duo of LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene is certainly formidable, especially considering the Jets have a couple Pro-Bowlers along their offensive line. It is hard to see the Lions shutting down the Jets’ running game completely but look for them to at least limit the big plays.
Although I am hopeful the Lions can pull an upset, in the end I expect the Jets to win. With the way the Lions have played at home I do expect them to keep this a close and competitive game. The x-factor will be whether the Lions score touchdowns or resort to kicking field goals. I think you know which I will expect when I say the final score will be Jets 24, Lions 23.