Regular season football is back, and that means with meaningful football, we have a meaningful bold prediction of the week. Part of a season-long series, it will be exactly as the title indicates: one hot take every week about what will unfold on Sunday (or in this case, Thursday). Before this week’s prediction however, let’s look back on the preseason.
Week 1: Miles Killebrew sees playing time early and often vs. the Oakland Raiders
This prediction came partially true. With Killebrew making the switch to linebacker only a couple days before the game, it was up in the air how much he would play there, if at all. In this case, Killebrew didn’t play early, but saw significant time in the latter parts of the game at his new position.
Week 2: Jake Rudock show comes to town vs. the New York Giants
With Matt Cassel decidedly performing better than Rudock in joint practices against the Giants, things were not looking good for the Lions’ former backup quarterback. I predicted that he would get a last-ditch look with the first team, essentially the coaches giving him a do-or-die situation if he wanted to show that the backup quarterback spot was still a competition. This came true to a tee, as Rudock took over for Matthew Stafford in the second quarter and played until the late third.
Week 3: Eli Harold starts on defense vs. the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
In this case, the Lions traded for Harold the evening before their matchup against Tampa Bay. After seeing the previous week’s bold prediction come true to a tee, I decided to up the stakes in Week 3 and anticipate that Harold would suit up in a condensed role against the Bucs. Unfortunately my boldness was too much, as Harold wouldn’t see action until the following week.
Week 4: Billingsley, Powell make last ditch efforts to stick to the roster
Specifically, I predicted that each would put up two touchdowns and give life to the offense in their final preseason showing. That didn’t happen, and they actually got off to a rough start, but things took a turn for the better in the latter half of the game and they did enough for Powell to land a spot on the Lions’ 53-man roster and Billingsley to find a spot on the New England Patriots’ practice squad. I’ll take that.
Now, for this week’s bold prediction.
Bold prediction of the week: Marquis Flowers-led Lions defense holds Jets offense to less than 100 rushing yards
The Lions defense was Swiss cheese against the run all preseason long. That’s not to say the pass defense was much better, but the run defense was particularly abysmal. The defense progressively got worse throughout the preseason against the run, giving up 88, 96, 122 and 163 yards each week, respectively. As a whole, opposing running backs averaged just over 4.3 yards per carry against the Lions per The Football Database.
The coaching staff was not happy with the talent they had on defense, and it showed when it came time for roster cuts. The Lions originally kept 10 offensive linemen, six wide receivers and five running backs, all the while leaving out defensive players many expected to make the team, especially along the defensive line. The Lions have since gone hunting for defensive talent on the waiver wire and held numerous tryouts to replace the excessive bodies on offense.
For a long time now it has been clear that just like in New England, the defense will face a steep learning curve when it comes to Matt Patricia’s scheme. I have way too much faith in Marquis Flowers, who was a staple of Patricia’s defense in New England and is now with the Lions after getting claimed off waivers. I’m saying a prayer that his experience with the scheme translates immediately to the Lions defense, and he brings some life to the abysmal front seven. If that can happen, then I think the Lions defense immediately takes a big step forward and he becomes just as important to the Lions as he was to New England with Patricia, leading the Lions to hold the Jets to less than 100 yards rushing on “Monday Night Football.”
How do you think things will unfold Monday night? Let us know in the comments.