2017 Week Five Game Preview: Detroit Lions vs. Carolina Panthers


Detroit Looks To Takeover The NFC With A Win Over Carolina.


Did anyone have the same record that Detroit has right now in their predictions? Most likely no. While some people believed a 2-2 start was possible, many saw 1-3 or 0-4. Boy were we all proven wrong.

Detroit is tied with multiple teams for first place in the NFC, one of those teams is Carolina and a win knocks them out of the way. Atlanta is on a bye week, meaning they will be behind as well. Green Bay plays Dallas which won’t be easy for them. Philidelphia takes on Arizona, and if Arizona keeps being on the decline, they should lose to the Eagles. The Rams play Seattle which will be tough for the team, it could be possible they lose.

That leaves Detroit, and Philidelphia leading the NFC overall, again did anyone predict that? If it happens, both of these teams could surprise a lot of teams down the road.

This week though, Detroit needs to focus on Carolina, and while the Panthers record says 3-1, it isn’t as impressive as it seems. That doesn’t mean Carolina will be an easy win, anyone can win in the NFL on any given day. Here is what Detroit needs to do in order to win on Sunday.

Matt Stafford Must Play Better

Matt Stafford looked off and not like himself against Minnesota. He finished going 19/31 for 209 yards. He had multiple throws that should have been picked off, and his timing seemed off with everyone. Everyone has a bad day as we are all human, nobody can ever be perfect, but in order to take that step forward, Stafford has to improve overall.

It is good to have the ability to run the ball so that if Stafford isn’t on his game, we can run the ball and release some pressure on him. The bad thing is that Detroit hasn’t had a solid running game.

Luckily for them, they got the win, but if they are going to be able to continue to win games where Stafford has issues, the defense will need to lead the way and the running game will have to help out. Stafford knows he can do better, expect him to double down this week and rebound with no problem.

Ameer Abdullah Can End The Streak

One of the worst streaks in the NFL going on right now is shockingly in Detroit as they are now at 56 games in a row without a running back to rush for at least 100 yards. The last one to do it? Reggie Bush, on November 28, 2013.

Abdullah came close, rushing for 94 yards against the Vikings last week before leaving the game with an ankle injury. He was cleared to return to the game last week, but the coaches decided to let him rest and get ready for Carolina. Rushing for 94 yards against a respectable defensive line isn’t easy, and with the Panthers having a weaker defensive line, Abdullah may finally end the streak on Sunday.

Jarrad Davis Returning Could Be Huge

While his presence was needed against Atlanta, Davis wasn’t needed as much against Dalvin Cook and the Vikings. Cook was doing well until he tore his ACL, ending his season. Detroit was able to contain the run after that, but they will have their hands full with what Carolina has at the position this week.

Jonathan Stewart will be the main back, but Christian McCaffrey will be the running back to watch as his receiving skills are impressive, something that the Lions struggle with as covering running backs in passing plays leaves us exposed. Jarrad Davis is our best coverage linebacker, so with him out that could mean Tahir Whitehead covers McCaffrey, and we all know how he does in coverage.

Prediction

Big game Matt Stafford will debut. We saw him do well against Atlanta, but I can see him striking against this Panthers defense that will be hurting at safety, something Stafford could strike with is deep balls to Marvin Jones. He should have more time in the pocket with a weaker defensive line and the running game will finally have a 100 yard rusher, Ameer Abdullah.

Detroit wins this game, 31-17.

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About the Author

Brandon Knapp

Brandon Knapp is a senior at Central Michigan University, majoring in Journalism, minoring in Sports Management. He was born and raised in the city of Marysville, MI. He also writes for myfantasysportstalk.com and covers the Michigan Wolverines Football team (his other love). Brandon also enjoys watching the Detroit Red Wings, Pistons and Tigers.