Detroit Has Their Preseason Opener Against The New York Giants This Week
While the preseason games don’t matter, losing still isn’t fun in any sport. Head coach Matt Patricia played last week’s game to see what his team could do, not necessarily to win. That’s fine, this is the time to try these things out and see who can do what. It is a no risk, high reward way of doing things. Still, though, winning games can build confidence even if they don’t matter and going 4-0 in the preseason is proven to be irrelevant since both Detroit and Cleveland went 0-16 having gone 4-0 in the preseason.
This week should be different though, and while the starters will be playing a little bit more than last week, it will still be a backup showcase in Detroit. This week they take on the New York Giants in a rematch of last year’s Monday Night Football matchup where Detroit went into New York and took down the Giants. While this game won’t be as intense, it should still be a good battle between two teams.
Lions vs Giants: Battle Of The Rookie Running Backs
Last week we saw Giants running back and their first-round pick Saquon Barkley run for 39 yards on his first NFL carry. Lions second-round pick Kerryon Johnson did some wonders in his debut. While this run wouldn’t count, it would have been longer than Barkley’s run.
Barkley might not play this week as he was seen limping in practice and the Giants might just end his preseason there, but if he plays it will be an interesting battle between the two running backs. Barkley finished last week with 43 yards on four carries, while Johnson had 34 rushing yards on seven carries, along with four catches for 33 yards.
Lions fans were amazed to see what Johnson could do against Oakland. They will expect to see him gain more game time against the Giants while hoping the Lions defense can stop Barkley if he plays – but that will be easier said than done.
Offensive Line Already Having Injury Woes
Last year there were over 10 different starting offensive linemen for the Lions as injuries kept bugging the team and hurting their offense. This week, two injuries happened, but luckily they were minor. Guard T.J. Lang still isn’t practicing and he missed last week’s game against the Raiders; it’s very possible he misses this week as well.
Starting center Graham Glasgow was injured in practice and the first-round pick Frank Ragnow moved back into his normal position of center. Glasgow was seen as the center in the team’s final walkthrough on Thursday, but he could miss this game as a precaution as well.
This isn’t the best way to start the preseason, but again these injuries seem to be minor and both will be ready to play by week one guaranteed. GM Bob Quinn got some depth with Tyrell Crosby in the draft as well, but still, if any of these starting offensive linemen go down, it won’t be good for the offense again.
Backup Quarterback Battle A Hot Mess
If Matthew Stafford goes down with an injury, you might as well call the season over for the Lions. Stafford didn’t play last week just to be safe, and while there’s no word on if Stafford plays this week, if Glasgow and Lang are both out, that just increases his chances of getting hurt. Stafford sitting this week won’t be a bad idea at all.
That leaves it to the backup quarterbacks, and boy is that battle tough to watch. Matt Cassel was the backup last week and put in an average performance before picking up in the final two-minute drive to try and have a comeback, which should put a chip on Jake Rudock‘s shoulder.
Neither are impressive and should leave fans worrying if Stafford goes down. Against Oakland, they combined for 22/37 for 139 passing yards. Not a great look for the team if Stafford goes down and Detroit could always find a better backup than both Cassel and Rudock, but odds are the team only keeps one of them and no matter who it is, the offense would then have to rely on the running game, and we all know how that is in Detroit.
While these games mean nothing, they are still fun to predict and based on last week, along with Barkley possibly being out, I see the Lions winning this game 17-10. Sure losing in the preseason to the Browns means nothing as we saw last season, but it isn’t a good look to be the team to lose to a team coming off a winless season.
We should expect to see more of Johnson at running back and that could turn into a better offensive performance. The defense has to improve, especially the defensive line – and against left tackle Ereck Flowers, Ziggy Ansah had a field day last season. While Ansah most likely won’t be playing either, that still doesn’t mean somebody else can’t bully Flowers for a few series and get to Manning or possibly Barkley.