The Detroit Lions defense is already looking like a significant upgrade over their 2020 unit, which is saying a lot considering they’re still near the bottom of the league in just about every meaningful metric. In addition to being marred by injuries on the back end of their defense, the already-thin linebacking corps just got thinner with the departure of Jamie Collins. The only notable improvement has been via some semblance of a pass rush, but even that has come with much of the same personnel from the 2020 season.
Bold prediction of the week: Lions defense holds fields to <200 scrimmage yards
The Cleveland Browns defense made a mockery of Justin Fields in his first NFL start last week. Surely Fields will watch the film, shake off some jitters, and look more comfortable this week against the Lions.
Nonetheless, if the Lions can repeat some semblance of last week’s defensive performance, they’ll be sure to find success against Fields. The Lions weren’t able to completely neutralize Lamar Jackson, but in pure passing situations late in the game they were able to set and keep an edge such that Jackson couldn’t wiggle his way out.
The Lions don’t have the same menacing pass rush unit that the Browns have, but the leftover Lions are built for playing contain against rushing quarterbacks, as Matt Patricia once loved to do. The Okwara Bros and Trey Flowers have the agility to mimic quarterbacks as opposed to more power-heavy pass-rushing units like the Browns.
Should the Lions find themselves with some form of an early lead, we could see the Lions flush out Fields in passing situations and set themselves up for the same defensive success they had against the Ravens.