Detroit Finishes Their Preseason Home Stand Against The New England Patriots.
This is when it gets fun. Preseason week three football is the closest we get to a full game before the season kicks off. Starters play the first half, while backups and third stringers take the backseat they are used to, and only get a half to play. Detroit will play its final home preseason on Friday as they host the defending Super Bowl champions, New England Patriots.
The roles have reversed though (even though it is preseason where the record doesn’t matter) as Detroit is coming in 2-0, while the Patriots are 0-2.
This doesn’t mean the game will be a walkthrough, Detroit will have to give it their all to continue their preseason performance. Sure they have been 4-0 in preseason before and it turned into a 0-16 season, but some fans actually hope this team loses, just so they don’t go 0-16 again. It may be the preseason, but you can’t expect a team to not try and win a game, even it is meaningless and even a meaningless win over New England can give this team a confidence boost.
This Is The First Big Test For Detroit
While this is preseason, Detroit hasn’t fought any impressive competition. They dominated the Colts in the first game of the preseason, then they took down the Jets in week two. The Colts are without Andrew Luck, a weak offensive and defensive line, nothing too impressive. The Jets are having QB questions on who will start and offensive line issues as well.
The New England Patriots don’t have issues. The defending champs got BETTER this offseason, something that rarely happens to championship teams. Dont’a Hightower returned for less money, they still have Tom Brady, they added Brandin Cooks and Stephon Gilmore.
Sure they are 0-2, but every team in the NFL runs a vanilla offense and defense, so they don’t show too much to the other 31 teams. Tom Brady will be in for a half, but a struggle for them will be no Nate Solder, the starting left tackle. This gives Detroit an advantage on the defensive line as they could get to Brady quicker than normally.
Another thing to watch for this week is how the offensive line performs. TJ Lang started last week, making his debut and he did well. Good news for the Lions is the Patriots have only gotten one sack this preseason and they lost their rookie defensive end Derek Rivers with an ACL injury for the season.
The first team battle for the first half will give Detroit a look on how they stack up to good competition around the NFL. Even if Detroit loses this game, if they have a good first half, they will be happy with that and see what they can learn from it.
How Will Jamal Agnew Rebound?
One of the rookies that saw the most action last week was cornerback Jamal Agnew. He led the team in tackles with six and had a pass deflection. He was targeted heavily and seemed to struggle with the coverage and assignments he was given.
While some believe he makes the team based on his kick/punt return abilities, others think he will be on the outside looking in. If Agnew goes up against Brady, expect Brady to target Agnew often and it will be a big chance for Agnew to prove his worth on the roster.
The first half will be a close game, as Brady plays the full half and shows why he is one of the greatest of all time. Stafford and the starting offense do better than they did against the Jets, as we could see some Kenny Golladay against the starting defense of New England.
At the half I see it being 14-10 New England. Then the second half starts.
Detroit’s secondary could have troubles with Jimmy Garoppolo as he has got starting experience last season and continues to be a possible trade piece for the Patriots. The defensive line will have to keep the Lions in the game if they want to win this game.
Overall, Detroit will fall to New England 24-21 in a close game that gives Detroit confidence that they can compete with the big dogs of the league and they are taking that big step forward.
If you are interested in a more in-depth preview, check out Zac’s article here.