Despite the win, the Detroit Lions have plenty of work to do

Matt Prater, Detroit Lions - Mandatory Credit: Billy Hardiman-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Prater, Detroit Lions - Mandatory Credit: Billy Hardiman-USA TODAY Sports /
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Jamie Collins, Detroit Lions (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
Jamie Collins, Detroit Lions (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) /

The defense could be respectable

Matt Patricia is feeling the heat and it showed on defense against the Cardinals. They actually had a good game plan and executed it well. No one would mistake them for the Steel Curtain of the 70s, but they did do their job.

The Lions ran more zone coverage against the Cardinals then they did in the entirety of Matt Patricia’s first two seasons in Detroit. That might be a figure of speech, but it’s close to literal reality. They also turned up the heat by using more blitz packages.

All of which proves one thing I believed all along; while there is certainly a need for more talent in the Lions front seven, this defense was good enough to at least play respectable if utilized properly.

This was Matt Patricia swallowing his pride and doing what he stubbornly has refused to do defensively, toss aside the blinders and mix up the defense enough to help create some confusion by the opposing offense and make some plays.

Now admittedly all three interceptions were by players that were not in Detroit last year. Two Patriots and a former Buckeye tallied all three takeaways. Yet they’re here now and if the defense is allowed to be more aggressive and willing to mix up their coverages, they should be able to be somewhere between decent and average.

Will that be enough to save Matt Patricia’s job? Maybe not, but it does give the Lions a better chance of success than continuing to pound their heads against the wall with a defensive theory that clearly hasn’t worked.

The long and the short of it is simple; these Lions are better than their 1-2 record. Yet they’re not championship material. Outside of the Packers, no other team in the NFC North has really been impressive. The Vikings have been underwhelming and two of the Bears wins were against the Lions and the Falcons who are playing very Detroit Lionesque football this season. They need to beat a good team or two before I’ll be impressed with them.

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So is there a chance for Matt Patricia to fulfill the mandate he was given? I would say that the opportunity is there. But it will take consistently good efforts from these Lions each week and the continued suppression of Patricia’s pride to give the defense a chance to at least be somewhat competitive. Otherwise, all bets are off.