Besides Michael Vick, Cam Newton is likely the best duel-threat quarterback in the NFL right now. The Lions faced Tim Tebow a couple weeks ago but don’t get confused, Cam Newton is a much bigger threat than Tebow. Unlike Tebow, Newton is an effective passer too. The Lions did a great job containing Tebow as they frequently blitzed him. It will take a lot more to control the first pick of last year’s draft.
Last week, the Titans did a great job of limiting Cam Newton and the Panthers. The Titans rolled the Panthers, holding Carolina to only a single field goal, 30-3. A lot of the Tennessee’s defenders credited “spying” on Newton as the biggest reason for their success. A “spy” play in football is where a single defender’s only job in the play is to shadow the quarterback. Shadowing the quarterback allows the rest of the defenders to rush without worrying about containing and having the QB break to the outside.
Stephen Tulloch’s performance on Sunday will the be the biggest reason for success or failure for the defense. Gunthar Cunningham will likely use Tulloch to be the spy on Newton. So far this year, Tulloch was the spy against Donovan McNabb, Josh Freeman, and Tim Tebow and each time he did a great job.
Using this technique, the Titans sacked Newton a season-high five times. If the Titans can be that successful against Newton, I would be somewhat shocked if the Lions can’t repeat or better that performance given the talent of the front seven.
This is the first legitimate “must-win” game for the Lions. After last week’s embarrassing loss to the Bears, the Lions cannot afford to lose more ground by losing to the 2-win Panthers. Stopping Cam Newton will be the biggest key for Detroit’s success and most of that job will likely rely on Stephen Tulloch. If he does a decent job, the Lions win easily.