Pre-Season Deep Dive: Jets vs Lions – Key Matchups to Watch

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A Breakdown of the Jets vs Lions Pre-Season Matchups

Matchups To Watch This Week

In the second week of the pre-season fans typically get to see the starters play a little more. Starters getting more time on the field is likely to garner most of the interest from fans. There are starters who have some question marks heading into this season that could be answered in this week two game against the New York Jets.

Ameer Abdullah vs The Jets’ Front Seven

Ameer Abdullah is a name that generates a lot of buzz this time of year. Abdullah has shown flashes of talent in his first two years but has had trouble staying on the field. Which has been an issue for the Lions. For much of 2016, the Lions’ offense looked lost in the running game. This would cause offensive drives to stall and led to the Lions being the second worst running unit. All eyes should be on Ameer Abdullah when he is on the field. His health will be pivotal to the success of the 2017 season.

The Jets have an impressive front line to their defense with Mo Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson, and Leonard Williams in rotation. Linebackers Demario Harris and Darren Lee will look to work with this stout front line to stop Abdullah as well as they did a year ago. The Jets were 11th ranked run stuffing in terms of yards and 10th in letting up touchdowns on the ground.

Jets vs Lions is a perfect game for Ameer Abdullah to show fans he is healthy and able to make the cuts necessary for him to succeed against a good line like the one the Jets possess. There was speculation Abdullah had Lisfranc surgery on his injured foot this past off-season. Usually, this injury is very damaging to an NFL career as it hurts the ability of the player to accelerate quickly, change direction, and/or plant off their foot.

Hopefully, Abdullah is able to use his excellent acceleration and agility take advantage of cutback lanes like he has done his first two seasons in the NFL. If so, Lions fans should be able to breathe a sigh of relief for their number one running back’s health and ability entering the 2017 season.

Teez Tabor vs The Jets’ Speed Wide Receivers

The biggest question marks surrounding rookie cornerback Teez Tabor is his ability to cover the deep ball. Tabor ran a poor 40-yard dash at this past years NFL Combine with a 4.63. There has been argument among the scouting community as to whether or not Tabor’s play speed is also that low.

Coincidentally, the Jets have the speed at wide receiver to test whether or not this will be an issue for Tabor. The best receiver of the group Tabor will face is also the fastest, Quincy Enunwa. Enunwa is a threat to take any ball too deep for a touchdown, which was the primary reason for him leading the Jets in receiving this past year. Enunwa’s teammates Charone Peake and Devin Smith are two other receivers to watch if Tabor faces them. Both have deep speed as well and could serve as an additional test for Tabor.

Like Abdullah, Jets vs Lions will be a great game for Tabor to help silence his critics. Tabor has the physical tools to disrupt receivers at the line and slow them down enough the difference in speed could be mitigated. Similar to how Tabor was used at Florida in college. But NFL speed is a whole different ball game. So this matchup is one worth watching for anyone looking to get an early glimpse of where the Lions rookie cornerback is at.

Right Guard TJ Lang vs The Jets’ Defensive Line

TJ Lang is one of the top free agent signings for the Lions this offseason and fans are eager to see what he has to bring to Detroit. Lang has spent much of this off-season recovering from an injury he sustained in 2016. Lang’s health and ability to block for Stafford will be critical to the team’s success this season.

Lang was brought into Detroit because of his pass blocking prowess. The Lions are built to be a pass -first team and Lang is a good addition, both in terms of ability and scheme fit. The Jets’ defensive line being such a disruptive force is a good showcase for Lang’s talent. In the Jets vs Lions game look out for Lang’s ability to keep these talented Jets defenders off of quarterback Matthew Stafford – it will be a good indicator of how Lang will perform for the Lions in 2017.


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