Detroit Lions: Will the defense stop the Buffalo Bills rushing attack?

Da'Shawn Hand, Detroit Lions (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Da'Shawn Hand, Detroit Lions (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Lions have been great at run defense for a while now. Will they be able to hold the Buffalo Bills rushing game at bay?

The Detroit Lions rushing defense has been great as of late. Ever since the addition of defensive tackle Damon Harrison, the run defense has been a major strength for the Lions. They will tested though when they face off against a tough Buffalo Bills rushing game this weekend.

The matchup to watch this game is how the Lions will be able to stop the league’s best running quarterback in Josh Allen. Also, dynamic running back LeSean McCoy.

In the last three games. Buffalo has been able to run for an average of 180.3 yards, which is third best in the league.

No quarterback has been better at running the ball than Josh Allen. Allen has rushed for 490 yards so far this season, which leads all quarterbacks. The past three games Allen has ran the ball in tune to of 335 yards. No quarterback has been hotter at running the ball as of late.

Unfortunately, the Lions can’t put all their focus on Allen. The Bills have a dynamic running back of LeSean McCoy. McCoy has the potential to break off long runs and a threat in the receiving game. McCoy is having a bit of an off year. He is only rushing for 3.3 yards per carry and he has never been below 4.0 in his entire career. McCoy missed practice so his status is uncertain for the game, but if he plays he is a player for the Lions to keep their eye on as well.

The good news is that the Detroit Lions are the best defense against running quarterbacks. They have only allowed 62 rushing yards to quarterbacks all year. That number is no fluke either. The Lions have faced off against a number of mobile quarterbacks this year.

They held Russell Wilson to 15 yards. They were able to keep Mitchell Trubisky to only 18 yards. Probably their best performance came against one of better rushing quarterbacks in the league, Cam Newton. They were able to hold him to a measly two yards.

The Lions have been great against the run in general. They have only given up on average 82.7 yards per game in the last three games. That is fifth best in the league. It has came to no surprise with the addition of Damon Harrison the run defense has been on fire. Along with A’Shawn Robinson, they make a great duo right up front creating a brick wall that has been hard to penetrate.

The kicker part about the Lions is they might be missing some key players on the defensive line. First off Ezekiel Ansah has landed on injured reserve and might be gone in Detroit. Also, Da’Shawn Hand is really leaning towards not being able to play against Buffalo when he suffered a knee injury. Devon Kennard has limited the last couple practices, so his status is still up in the air.

I have no doubts though that the players right behind them will be able to step up and fill the shoes. Players like Romeo Okwara, Ricky Jean-Francois, and Eli Harold. Okwara has been a bright spot since the Lions picked him off waivers filling in Ansah’s shoes. Jean-Francois is a savvy veteran and knows the system. Harold has been able to take advantage of playing time with Kennard out and he has stepped up.

The player I think will be utilized the most to halt the Bills rushing game is linebacker Jarrad Davis.  He will used in some sort of fashion as a spy against the Bills ground game. Considering Allen has been the bigger threat has of late I think the Lions will have Davis keep a close eye on Allen.

Davis has the athleticism and closing speed which should be able to keep Allen from running over the Lions. His performance against the Arizona Cardinals was probably one of his better games. He was able to hold one of the leagues better running backs, David Johnson to a paltry 49 rushing yards. I believe if Davis is able to repeat that, I’m sure it’ll be a long day for the Bills who live on the ground.

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As long has the defense hold their edges, control their gaps, and keep containment; Allen and McCoy should not be to run against the high powered Detroit Lions run defense. With Davis acting as a spy and the one-two combo of Harrison and Robinson, the Bills should see a drop off from their average. With the Bill’s passing game being subpar, the defense could hold them and keep the Lions in this game and squeak out a must needed victory.