What the Detroit Lions must do to return to the playoffs

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Continue to stop the run

Sep 28, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (92) smiles during the game against the Carolina Panthers at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Stopping the run often equates to killing drives. The Lions finished 1st in the NFL in stopping the run last season. That has more to do with their 11 wins than it may seem. Stopping the run turns even the best offense into a one-dimensional one.

Take their match up’s with the Green Bay Packers for examples. In their first meeting, the Lions controlled Eddie Lacy and forced the Packers to lean on the pass game. Aaron Rodgers is arguably the best quarterback in the league, but when you force any quarterback to repeatedly pass the ball, they become predictable. In the 2nd meeting, Lacy had a great game and the Lions could not stop the Packers balanced attack. With the Loss of Suh, can the Lions continue to be a top 5 run stuffing team without him?

Absolutely. Haloti Ngata is no slouch, in fact some would argue that he is a better run stopping defensive tackle than Ndamukong Suh. The Lions still have their edge rusher in Ezekiel Ansah and Jason Jones, and added two more big and fast tackles in Gabe Wright and Tyrunn Walker. Do the Lions take a step back on the line? sure. Do they take a leap? No way.

Next: Establish offense in Lombardi's 2nd year