The Detroit Lions face a tough test going up against the Miami Dolphins coming off of their bye week. Miami’s defense has gone a bit under the radar this year, but are right up there with the Lions.
According to FootballOutsiders and their DVOA formula, the Dolphins are the second most efficient defense right behind the Lions. They have the most efficient passing defense in the NFL, and they’re also giving up the least amount of yards per play (4.7).
While the Dolphins have excelled in their secondary, their front seven won’t be any easier to contain. In fact, the Dolphins have arguably the most talented front seven in the NFL. Led by three-time defensive end pro-bowler Cameron Wake, Miami’s defense ranks fifth in sacks.
With Wake rushing exclusively on the left side, the Lions will have to pray that LaAdrian Waddle is 100 percent healthy and prepared to play right tackle, or else Stafford is going to have another rough week.
The Dolphins are no slouches when it comes to offense as well. They have the number four ranked rushing offense tallying 137.2 yards per game, and are 18th in passing yards per game (228.5).
When Jim Caldwell arrived in Detroit and was searching for an offensive coordinator, there were rumors of Bill Lazor accepting the job. Instead, Lazor was actually already on his way to Miami when the rumors surfaced, and he’s done a superb job of improving Tannehill’s game.
Tannehill has done a fantastic job under pressure this year. When blitzed, his quarterback rating is an astounding 99.1. When not blitzed, his QB rating drops to an 86.7.
This upcoming game will no doubt be the Lions’ toughest test of the season.
TE Dion Sims – Toe – Out
OG Daryn Colledge – Back – Doubtful
RB Lamar Miller – Shoulder – Questionable
LB Koa Misi – Ankle – Questionable
DT Earl Mitchell – Oblique – Questionable
LB Kelvin Sheppard – Hip/Groin – Questionable
S Jimmy Wilson – Hamstring – Questionable
TE Charles Clay – Knee – Probable
DT Anthony Johnson – Back – Probable
LB Chris McCain – Foot – Probable
C Mike Pouncey – Hip – Probable
LB Jordan Tripp – Ankle – Probable
The Detroit Lions are a three point favorite via Vegas Insider.
Keys To Winning
If the Lions win this game, the Lions will need to hang on to the ball and let their defense put them in good field position. The Dolphins are currently forcing the second most turnovers in the NFL (18).
Also, Stafford is going to need protection like this if we want to get anything going offensively:
The Lions may have to rely on their own defense this Sunday if they want to get the job done. I expect the Lions to stuff the run and make Tannehill beat them on third and long situations.
When looking over these two teams, I just don’t see where the Lions have an edge. Stafford has a history of struggling against great pass defenses. I expect a close game with Detroit getting Calvin Johnson healthy, but in the end, the Dolphins steal a close win on the road.
Final Score: Dolphins 21 – Lions 18