The Lions are heading into Sunday’s matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals bruised, beat down, and battered. Their CB1, as it stands right now, is a guy who wasn’t even expected to make the roster during camp: undrafted rookie Jerry Jacobs. He faces the tough task of mirroring one of the league’s hottest young receivers in Ja’Marr Chase.
Bold prediction of the week: Lions hold Ja’Marr Chase to a season low in yards.
Though Amani Oruwariye is considered CB1 for the Lions, Jacobs told reporters on Friday he expects to face Chase a lot on Sunday, perhaps even mirror him.
“I’m pretty (sure) I’m going to see a little more of Chase,” Jacobs said. “So I’ll be following him around a little bit.”
Chase has burst onto the scene in 2021 after a preseason that had many wary. Through five games, he has accumulated 456 receiving yards, good for a shade over 91 yards per game. The lowest in that span was a 54-yard receiving game against the Chicago Bears. Last week he posted 159 yards on just six catches against the Packers, so he’s coming in hot.
Frankly, I don’t see any way this actually happens, but hey, it’s called bold prediction for a reason. This defense is in such a sorry state even before being decimated by injury, but at this point the Lions are playing safety roulette. That being said, Tracy Walker is coming off his best game, and there’s no way the Lions don’t shadow some safety protection Jacobs’ way on Sunday.
And let’s not forget that Joe Burrow has plenty of other weapons at his disposal. With Detroit’s young and mistake-prone secondary, Burrow could very well spread the ball to the likes of Tyler Boyd, Tee Higgins and even tight end C.J. Uzomah if Detroit gives extra attention to Chase. That’s on top of the fact that Joe Mixon likely gashes the Lions all day on the ground.
If those opportunities arise, it may not force the ball into Chase’s hands and instead lend Jerry Jacobs a quiet day in his prominent new role.