New York Jets Week 4 Know Thy Enemy: Detroit Lions
Sep 21, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions wide receiverCalvin Johnson
(81) after the game against the Green Bay Packers at Ford Field. Detroit won 19-7. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
This week I was able to interview Braden Shackleford of the Detroit Lions’ Fansided site SideLion Report to tell us a bit about the Jets’ opponent on Sunday.
Question 1 Between Johnson, Tate, Bush, Bell, Fauria and Ebron, the Lions have offensive weapons all over the field. What do you think their offensive game plan will be against the Jets?
I think the Lions try to establish a balanced attack early, but the bottom line is that the Jets run defense is exceptional. Maybe Reggie Bush breaks a huge run and sparks the run game, but in all likelihood, the Lions will have a game plan that revolves around short passes, play action, and screens to compensate for the Jets run defense.
As always, Matthew Stafford will take a few shots down the field with Calvin Johnson and possibly Golden Tate. In addition, keep an eye out for Corey Fuller‘s name. He doesn’t get a lot of passes thrown his way, but when he plays it’s usually to stretch a defense and he could be in for a big play or two with so much attention on Calvin.
Question 2 There is a quarterback who has problems with key turnovers, inconsistency and year over year growth in this game. Actually there are two. Tell us about the positives and negatives about Matthew Stafford.
Matthew Stafford is the best arm talent in the NFL, but we all know that throwing the ball really far is one of many things a quarterback needs to do to be great. I still think he reaches that mark eventually with this coaching staff. For now, his decision-making is better, but still has a lot of room for improvement.
He seems to manage the game a little better this season than in previous years and his accuracy has also improved, but Stafford’s greatest flaw, to me, seems to be when he gets frustrated. After a few stalled drives or a few drops he tends to revert back to side arming passes, forcing throws, and sloppy footwork. If he can just work on being patient, he will be regarded as one of the best quarterbacks sooner rather than later.
Question 3 The Lions front four rivals the Jets with three 1st round picks among the group. Suh, Fairley and Ansah are excellent players who are very disruptive. Who are the other players on the Lions’ defense that can cause the Jets problems?
DeAndre Levy, Glover Quin, and Darius Slay. Emphasis on DeAndre Levy. Levy might be the best 4-3 outside linebacker in the NFL and he is by far the most unappreciated amongst NFL circles. Glover Quin is just a solid safety that’s always where he needs to be, and Darius Slay is actually a top five corner according to pro football focus, in just his second season.
If the Jets would’ve played the Lions last week I’d mention middle linebacker Stephen Tulloch, but he’s out for the season with a torn ACL. Nonetheless, through three weeks, this defense looks for real, but that can quickly change in the Not-For-Long NFL.
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This is a brand new Suh- at least we hope- that plays TO the whistle and doesn’t let opponents in his head. I don’t think there will be a brawl unless it’s instigated by the Jets, especially under the new coaching regime.
With that said, I think the Lions defensive line wins and bottles up the Jets run game. For the record I think the Jets defensive line bottles up the Lions run game too. Those are just two REALLY talented units.
Question 5 What is your prediction for Sunday? Who wins and what is the score?
I think the Jets have played well enough to win after blowing opportunities against the Packers and Bears, but good teams are able to close games out. To this point the Jets haven’t done that and the Lions have, despite both teams looking like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
For that reason alone I have to give the Lions the slightest edge. Lions win 27-20.