Sunday, November 7, 2010

Lions Eye View

When you aren't a Lions fan and don't live in Detroit it can be very easy to overlook this team as the "same old Lions."  NFL teams will do so at their own peril.  

Ask Chicago who needed a crazy ruling to win.  Or Green Bay whose defense was torched by Detroit's backup QB.  Or Philadelphia who held Calvin Johnson in check only to get run down by Jahvid Best and the Lions' TE's.  Or the Rams who got steamrolled.  The Giants whose league leading pass rush couldn't prevent 3rd stringer Drew Stanton from racking up a couple of TD's.  

On the defensive side only the Giants have a defensive line performing near at the level the Lions are right now.  

Specifics you say?  Good point.

The Jets are no slouches right now.  Their defense is ranked 7th overall, and their offense has shown it can perform.  However, it has also been shut out.  

Jets on Offense

The Jets will need to attack the weak points of the Lions defense.  This means pulling in extra guys to block the defensive line and getting Tomlinson and Greene to the linebackers where the Lions are exceptionally weak. Washington attempted to run into the Lions defensive line and Ryan Torian was stoned at the line on ten rushes for 9 yards before getting injured.  Still, the Lions defense has a tendency to give up some big running plays and the Jets will need to stick with the run game until they can break one loose.  If the Lions can stop that run game with just 7 guys then the Jets could be looking at a repeat of Green Bay - not a shutout, but serious struggles. 

Passing wise, the Lions secondary has turned out to be much better at the cornerback position than was thought coming into the season.  Chris Houston and Alphonso Smith are both playing at a high level, and passing defense numbers have improved drastically with that starting duo in the defensive backfield.  Detroit's overall passing defense numbers were skewed by teams picking on benched starter Jonathan Wade early.  

However, Amari Spievey is making his first start at Safety - which is still a new position for him.  While he may grow into a solid starting safety he isn't right now and the Jets should pick on him in all phases in all ways possible to make his trial one by fire.  They Lions can't pull him because they just plain don't have anyone else.  

Unfortunately for the Jets, in order to take advantage of the running and passing game, they will have to stop Detroit's front four which is easier said than done.  While Ndamukong Suh is getting all the attention on national media, Corey Williams is playing better than Suh right now.  Washington kept 6 in to block on a large percentage of plays, and still gave up 7 sacks to the Lions last week.  

This is because Williams has been just plain unstoppable, even with two guys on him.  Suh can be slowed by the double team, but still makes plays as well.  So unless 6 guys are in dedicated to blocking  then there is no way to double both of them.  Even when you do, you still have Cliff Avril and Kyle Vandenbosch coming in off the edges or lord knows where with single coverage.  Even the rotational DT Sammie Hill is a run stopping beast up the gut, able to provide Williams and Suh with enough breathers to keep them fresh. The Lions have 23 sacks for a reason. 

The major key will be short passing, screens, and play action to slow down the pass rush.  If Suh and company get to Sanchez early and rattle him, it could get ugly for the Jets. 

The Lions on Offense

The Lions have struggled with the running game, getting just enough to make their play action passing and screen game operate.  Don't be fooled by the pure rushing numbers though.  Both Javhid Best and Kevin Smith are excellent receivers and similar to Philadelphia Detroit often substitutes the short passing game to the TE's and the RB's for their run game.  They also have both Scheffler and Pettigrew at TE so there is no lack of weapons underneath if the Jets manage to stop Clavin Johnson by bracketing him in coverage. 

No matter the talk of Revis Island if the Jets put him one on one with Calvin all game they are nuts.  Period.  One guy won't hold him in check.  He will break a big one.  They also move him around a lot to keep defenses adjusting.  Despite what national outlets are saying the Lions have the firepower now -- especially with Stafford back -- to take advantage of mismatches created by CJ's presence on the field. 

the Jets will need to take away the running game, and force Detroit to be one dimensional so that the Jets pass rushers can pin back their ears and go after Stafford.  This will be the best way for the Jets to force Stafford into one of his characteristic Favre-like interceptions, and hold the Lions ot less than then their 38 points per game average.

Stephen Peterman is the weak link on the line as he is dealing with a lingering ankle injury.  Cherilus has been a great performer, but getting caught helping cover for Peterman.  The Jets will need to be creative in attacking the Lions' right side. 

One last thought for Jets fans: The Lions put up almost all of those points with their second and third string quarterbacks playing.   

I'll be at the game today along with many of you.  Go Lions!!

I wrote this article on my iPhone and posted via my remote email posting so please forgive any formatting issues v thanks! ~ DetFan1979

No comments: