This Sunday, the Detroit Lions will attempt to avoid their first two-game losing streak of the season. It will not be an easy task, however. They will be matched up against the New England Patriots, who are no doubt the hottest team in the league right now.
New England had a rough start this year. Well, at least rough for their standards. After a 2-2 start, and a nail-biting win over the Raiders, many were questioning whether Tom Brady had anything left in the tank. Since week four, Brady has been sacked just five times, has completed 67 percent of his passes, and only trails Aaron Rodgers with a 115.8 QB Rating.
The Patriots have won their last six games in a row, four of them by 20 points or more. They’re currently scoring 32.3 points per game which is good for second in the NFL.
The key to stopping Tom Brady–well there is no way to stop him. You can only contain him and hope that he doesn’t score 30 points on you.
The Lions should have better luck against the Patriots defense than they did last week. With offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi scrapping up to 20 percent of their playbook, this should limit the amount of mistakes and hopefully provide a better execution of their offensive gameplan this Sunday.
The Patriots have an extremely average defense. They’re smack dab in the middle (16th) in both total defense and passing yards allowed per game, and 14th in rushing yards allowed per game.
If the Lions offense fails to put up points against an average Patriots defense, then they may be in bigger trouble than originally expected.
OL Cameron Fleming – Ankle/Finger – Out
DE Chandler Jones – Hip – Out
OL Marcus Cannon – Hip – Questionable
DL Dominique Easley – Knee – Questionable
DB Nate Ebner – Finger – Questionable
QB Tom Brady – Ankle – Probable
WR Julian Edelman – Thigh – Probable
RB Jonas Gray – Not Injury Report – Probable
The New England Patriots are a 3.5 point favorite via Vegas Insider.
Keys To Winning
The biggest key to winning will be to contain Tom Brady. In their week six matchup, Brady went into Buffalo and slung the ball for 361 yards including four touchdowns and no interceptions. That’s against the number five ranked defense in DVOA via FootballOutsiders.
It’s not going to be easy containing Brady, but to do it, the Lions will have to clog the “A” gaps and get to Brady quicker than ever and force him to throw off-balance.
Also, Matthew Stafford and the Lions’ offense really need to have a good game in New England. You can’t really ask any defense to hold the Patriots to less than 20 points and expect it to happen (unless you’re the Raiders or Chiefs apparently).
The Lions will need to play absolutely perfect on all three phases if they want to beat New England. I just don’t think they’re capable of doing it on the road against the hottest team in the NFL right now. They may give them a run for their money, but in the end, it will be New England that comes away victorious. The Lions are handed their first two-game losing streak of the season, and have some work to do if they want to steal the NFC North back from the Packers.
Final Score: Patriots 24 – Lions 14