Five Key Matchups to Watch in Detroit Lions at Cleveland Browns

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Browns OLB Barkevious Mingo vs. Lions OT Riley Reiff

Oct 3, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns outside linebacker Barkevious Mingo (51) pressures Buffalo Bills quarterback Jeff Tuel (8) while getting blocked by tackle Cordy Glenn (77) during the fourth quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Browns won 37-24. Mandatory Credit: Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports

Barkevious Mingo was drafted immediately after the Lions took Ansah, and at least looking at draft status, the two young pass rushers are approximately equal.

Looking at their production this season, the comparisons get even closer. Both players have notched 14 tackles, three sacks, and a pass deflection to this point in the season. Mingo acquired his stats in four games instead of Ansah’s five, but Ansah has two forced fumbles to add to the stat line.

So this is effectively the same as the Ansah/Thomas matchup, but with a key difference: Riley Reiff is a first-year starter at left tackle, not a perennial All-Pro like Thomas.  And after starting the season strong, the Lions’ offensive line took a step back against Green Bay, allowing five sacks on Matthew Stafford and two tackles in the backfield on rushing plays.

If the Lions’ offense is to get back on track, keeping Stafford upright is going to be paramount. This next thing might be a factor, too…