The Detroit Lions are set for their week two matchup with the Carolina Panthers. This time they won’t have the benefit of a raucous Monday Night Football home crowd behind them. Here is what the SideLion Report staff sees for the game ahead.
Braden Shackelford – What does scare me about this match up is the Carolina Panthers’ pass rush vs the Detroit Lions’ offensive line. The offensive line for the Lions wasn’t particularly sharp against the Giants as Matthew Stafford seemed to get a decent amount of pressure dropping back and their run game was sub-par with the backs averaging around 2.5 yards per attempt.
The key to winning on Sunday – for both teams – will be the battle in the trenches on both sides of the ball. Lions’ offensive line vs Panthers pass rush and the Lions front seven vs the Panthers offensive line. If the Lions can keep the Panthers’ running game at bay while giving Stafford time to throw they can steal one in Carolina. I expect Stafford to keep taking care of the football and for the Lions to keep Carolina one dimensional. Lions play Panthers at right time for a narrow victory 26-24
Kent Platte – This game ends a lot closer than it is. The Panthers front 7 are one of the best in the NFL, but their secondary is just dreadful. Lions lead most of the game, let the Panthers back in towards the end but the game is never truly in doubt. Lions 31, Panthers 28
Alex Reno – This should be a much closer game than last week’s dismantling of the New York Giants. The Panthers defense is the complete opposite of the Giants. Their strong point is their front seven, while their weak point is their secondary. With our offensive line taking a huge blow, I think Matthew Stafford is going to face adversity early on, and we’ll see how he reacts. I’m thinking this one goes right down to the final minutes and the Lions squeeze out a victory, 27-24.
Darin Ackerman – The Lions will need to put together a game plan to ensure history doesn’t repeat itself. Last season after a decisive victory in their home opener, they took to the road to face a tough defense in Arizona. This season the locale has changed, but the strength of the defense is of similar quality. The Panthers’ devastating front four will be the first real test for an offensive line that is not at full strength with both Waddle and Hilliard out. Stafford will have to rely on heavy spread formations and three step drops to move the ball down the field, though if he can get the ball out quickly he should find success against a patchwork secondary. On the flip side, the Ansah and Jones will need to keep outside contain to ensure Newton stays in the pocket and is forced to throw to his mediocre receiving corps. With fewer penalties and a running game that will start to hit its stride, the Lions pull off a win. Lions 24, Panthers 20
Max DeMara – The Lions are on a roll, so the short week doesn’t bother them much. It will be tough to contain Cam Newton, but his comments, while relatively tame, may have fired up the defense. Detroit gets a few turnovers and has success through the air against a quality Panther defense to go 2-0. Detroit 27, Carolina 17
Zac Snyder – I may be sandbagging a bit here, but I’m picking the Panthers to win a close game. Honestly, no result would surprise me, from shootout to defensive struggle to either team winning. Forced to make a prediction, I’ll say Panthers 27, Lions 23.