Detroit Looks To Avoid A Loss In This Trap Game Against The Winless Cleveland Browns.
Don’t sleep on the Cleveland Browns. While they may be 0-8, they could still beat the Detroit Lions come Sunday. Fans may want to chalk this up as an automatic W on the schedule, but anything can happen in the NFL.
Detroit is coming off a big win in Green Bay as they moved up to second place in the NFC North standings, back to a .500 record, and with a favorable schedule for the rest of the season, it is their division to lose and their playoffs hopes to crush. One way to do that is to drop a game against a team that hasn’t beaten anyone this season. Detroit should win against Cleveland, but there are no guarantees in the NFL. You have to prepare for each team week in and week out. If Detroit doesn’t prepare for the Browns, they could be in for a long day.
Marvin Jones And Golden Tate Must Execute
Coming off a big game, Marvin Jones is again showing that he can be a number one wide receiver on an NFL team. He and Golden Tate were able to pick apart the Packers defense, but they will have trouble this week against a stingy Browns secondary.
While the Browns are in the middle of the NFL in passing yards allowed at 16th with 1,834 yards, they still give opposing receivers trouble, especially Briean Boddy-Calhoun, who is a cornerback that many quarterbacks try to avoid. While he doesn’t have impressive stats, it’s hard to get good stats when quarterbacks aren’t throwing your way.
These CBs are being targeted the least on a per-snap basis pic.twitter.com/NDBKLOhFRw
— PFF (@PFF) November 6, 2017
Jason McCourty is the other cornerback that will be out there in coverage and he has been impressive as well. He has three interceptions, one for a touchdown, this season. Both players will be people that could give Matthew Stafford a reason to throw to T.J. Jones, Eric Ebron, or Theo Riddick.
Jarrad Davis And Company Must Keep An Eye On Duke Johnson
While rookie quarterback DeShone Kizer has struggled this season, the offense does have one playmaker and that is running back Duke Johnson. Johnson is a mixed type of back, while he can run if needed, he is better when used in the passing game. He’s like Riddick, but not as shifty.
That is where Jarrad Davis and the other linebackers need to watch. Johnson is on pace for a career year in receptions and receiving yards with potentially 72 catches and 648 yards. Detroit has struggled in the past with coverage against running backs and tight ends.
Johnson should be the main focal point when it comes to the Cleveland Browns offense as he could make a play or two and keep the Browns in this game. If they can contain Johnson, it will put more pressure on Kizer and he has struggled with pressure this season.
The Offensive Line Will Be Tested Heavily
Detroit made a bold move on Friday cutting their starting left tackle, Greg Robinson, in place of Taylor Decker. With this move, many believe that the Lions are prepared to start Taylor Decker, who hasn’t played a snap this season due to a torn labrum.
While his possible return brings joy, there is dismay with T.J. Lang being listed out for the game with a concussion. His possible replacement could be a former teammate and Green Bay Packer, Don Barclay. If Decker returns, and Barclay starts at right guard, it would be a total of nine different offensive linemen that have started for the Lions this season.
They have a very tough test as they play the third-best run defense in the NFL, led by rookie defensive end Myles Garrett. The Browns allow an average of 84.3 rushing yards a game and with the Lions having troubles rushing the ball, they will probably continue against this tough run defense.
Garrett will also cause issues as the rookie already leads the team in sacks in just three games that he has played in with four. If Decker returns, it will be a good test for him in his first game back. If not, Brian Mihalik will have his hands full.
This game will have to be in Stafford’s hands. While he has led the team for a majority of the season, he will have to maintain control of the game if this team wants to win. Detroit will continue to have issues running the ball, and while Tate and Jones may be quiet, it could be a good time for Kenny Golladay to return and blow things up.
The defense will have to create pressure on Kizer and create turnovers, something Kizer is used to as he is tied for first in the NFL in interceptions with 11. Detroit must force turnovers if they want to win comfortably. They should be able to, but this game won’t be as much of a blowout as everyone expects it to be.
Detroit wins 28-19.