Run defense: 4.5/5 stars
Objective number one for the Lions’ defense in this game was stopping Saquon Barkley. To say mission accomplished would be drastically underselling matters. Detroit completely stuffed any and all rush attempts the Giants’ star running back had, holding him to 22 yards on 15 carries. Outstanding work by the defensive front.
The only slight hiccup was defending read options. Daniel Jones racked up 50 yards as Lions’ edge defenders not named Aidan Hutchinson had a difficult time. However, while frustrating, it doesn’t diminish the accomplishments on Sunday.
Pass defense: 4/5 stars
It was a bit rocky in stretches for the Lions’ pass defense, with a few instances of guys getting wide open. However, the defense was very opportunistic. Two interceptions and one fumble forced after a catch. Furthermore, the defensive line did a great job of pressuring Jones (two sacks, 10 quarterback hits).
While the yardage allowed looks less than ideal, the turnovers and defensive line play were the positive marks here. And this was despite not having Jeff Okudah available for a majority of the game, as he was knocked out of the game due to concussion protocols.
Best defensive player: DT Alim McNeill
This was easily the best game of McNeill’s career so far. It didn’t matter which of the Giants’ interior linemen he was matched up with. Chips, double teams, it didn’t matter, McNeill was absolutely unblockable in all facets of the game.
The success of McNeill opened up other opportunities for those around him to get pressure as well. In the run game, McNeill was doing such a good job forcing things outside that all the linebackers had to do was chase the running backs to the outside and cut them off. Absolutely outstanding game all around for McNeill.
Worst defensive player: CB Mike Hughes
The secondary was the weak link of the defense on Sunday, and there were a few guys that gave up a few too many catches. Hughes had at least three or four instances where he was simply giving too big of a cushion to opposing receivers.
Given the current rotation, Hughes stands to see a large share of snaps on Thanksgiving against the Bills with Okudah likely sidelined by concussion protocol on a short week. Considering how much better the Bills’ offense is compared to the Giants, Hughes is going to need to improve his play significantly.