It’s just four weeks into the season, but the Detroit Lions have currently given up the least amount of yards in the NFL. Oddly enough, they will be facing off against the NFL’s second ranked defense: The New York Jets.
The Jet Press
A key matchup to look out for will be the rushing attack of the Jets squaring up against the Lions’ stout and nearly impenetrable front seven.
The Jets are currently averaging 157.3 rushing yards per game which is good for second in the NFL behind the Pittsburgh Steelers (163.3). Compare that to the Lions, who are giving up just 63.7 rushing yards per game, and it’s tough to predict who will come out victorious in the trenches this Sunday.
Though their rushing offense has been spectacular to start the season, the same cannot be said of the Jets’ passing offense with Geno Smith under center. Through just three games, Smith has already thrown four interceptions and currently has a QB rating of 77.0. Pro Football Focus has also graded him as the second worst QB this year with only Jake Locker behind him.
I don’t expect things to get any easier for Geno, who will be facing a secondary that is playing out of it’s mind right now, giving up just 180.7 passing yards per game.
OG Willie Colon – Calf – Probable
C Dalton Freeman – Knee – Probable
RB Chris Johnson – Ankle – Probable
C Nick Mangold – Shoulder – Probable
WR David Nelson – Illness – Probable
DL Muhammad Wilkerson – Knee – Probable
WR Eric Decker – Hamstring – Questionable
DB Dee Milliner – Quadriceps – Doubtful
The Lions are favored by 1.5 points.
Keys To Winning
With the Jets’ run defense being so stellar, I think Matthew Stafford is going to need to have a solid game if the Lions want to earn their first road victory of the season.
As PrideOfDetroit’s own Jeremy Reisman and Bleacher Report’s Featured Columnist Jeff Risdon have already pointed out, Rex Ryan tends to run a bizarre defensive scheme with some unique blitzes. The Lions will really need to get the ball out quickly against the Jets or it’s going to be a long day for Stafford.
Don’t be surprised to see a breakout performance from Jeremy Ross who may get a few targets on some short bubble screens and shallow crosses.
It will also be key for the Lions to put pressure on Geno Smith. If we’ve learned anything about Smith so far, it’s that he has been terrible under pressure. Last year, Smith was under pressure on 42 percent of his total snaps, and threw just one touchdown and seven interceptions while under duress.
Looking through all of the matchups, I believe the Lions have the perfect opportunity to come away with their first road victory of the year. Detroit is favored in this matchup, and so far the national media has hopped on their bandwagon which worries me slightly.
I predict an impressive performance from Stafford and continued success from the Lions’ secondary, reinforcing the belief that they’re a legitimately solid unit despite the injuries.
Score: Lions 24 – Jets 10