Matt Patricia’s entire defensive philosophy is built around bending but not breaking. That’s going to be extra important Sunday as the Lions take on the Indianapolis Colts, who boast the league’s highest scorer thus far in the 2020 season in kicker Rodrigo Blankenship, aka “Hot Rod.”
For the Lions, that could be a good thing. We’ve seen historically that having a good kicker can be a fault. Too many times the Lions offense has gotten stagnant as soon as they’re in field goal range and opted for an “automatic” three points rather than going for it on very manageable fourth downs.
Bold prediction of the week: Lions hold Colts to only field goals, turn Sunday into a Hot Rod Highlight Reel
The Lions will have to hope to pull that same tactic on the Colts on Sunday. With a big-name kicker who’s already leading the league in scoring, the Colts won’t be hesitant to turn his way should the opportunity arise. Indianapolis also happens to be one of the worst teams in the league when they get in the red zone. They score an average of 4.7 points per red zone trip (26th) and score touchdowns just 52.2 percent of the time (26th).
For the Lions, that means having the run defense of the past two weeks rather than the run defense of the first four weeks. It’ll be essential that they shut down Jonathan Taylor in the red zone and force the Colts to trot out Hot Rod as frequently as possible. If the Lions bend but don’t break, as they’re supposed to, then they can force the Colts to do just that.