Detroit Lions vs. New England Patriots: 3 key matchups for Week 5

Credit: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images
Credit: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images /
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Credit: Nic Antaya/Getty Images
Credit: Nic Antaya/Getty Images /

Matchup 3: Lions LB Alex Anzalone vs. Patriots RBs Damien Harris & Rhamondre Stevenson

Detroit’s entire defense of course had a horrible game last week. but linebackers had a really rough game against the Seahawks (though rookie Malcolm Rodriguez was something of a bright spot). Anzalone in particular may have had his worst game in a Lions’ uniform, which is saying something based on how mostly bad he was last season. He was constantly over-running gaps, missing tackles, and blowing coverage assignments–just like 2021. Sometimes a player is just who he is, and Anzalone would not be a starter for many (if any) other teams.

This week, that performance cannot repeat itself. The Patriots have an efficient rushing offense, spearheaded by Harris and Stevenson, which will require Detroit to respond by playing disciplined and simply (as much as it can be called “simple”) making the plays that are in front of them. Anzalone, as the leader of linebacker group and the wearer of the “green dot” to take the call from the sideline and communicate it to his teammates, has to be very good physically and intangibly in what will be a tough road environment.

If Anzalone can provide even passable play on Sunday, it would be an enormous boost to the Lions’ defense this week. Stopping the run on early downs will be absolutely critical, to force New England’s offense and whoever the quarterback into situations they don’t want (third-and-long etc.).

light. More. Detroit Lions Week 4 fantasy football review