Tim Boyle is set to take over the reins as the Detroit Lions, undefeated in the month of November, make a short trip south to face off against the Cleveland Browns Sunday. Jared Goff isn’t slated to play due to an oblique injury suffered against the Steelers, giving many fans what they have demanded for weeks now: a change at quarterback.
Bold prediction of the week: Tim Boyle throws for 300+ yards against the Browns
You want bold, I give you bold. Tim Boyle is back to full health and promoted to the active roster just in time to slip ahead of what would’ve been David Blough’s shot to right the ship. Boyle was polarizing in the preseason, looking like ole Jared “checkdown” Goff at times but also taking deeper looks downfield when provided with a clean pocket.
Aside from being a backup quarterback coming off of injury and trying to lead a talent-depleted team, it’s highly unlikely Boyle will have a clean pocket. Myles Garrett leads one of the best pass rushes in the league, and while Detroit will have both starting offensive tackles back, Taylor Decker is still only two weeks off his injury and not up to his full potential yet. That doesn’t bode well for Boyle’s necessity for a clean pocket.
It’ll be interesting to see if the Lions try to lean on the run game as much as they did against Pittsburgh. Unfortunately, the weather in Cleveland is set to be similar to Pittsburgh last Sunday, with rain again in the forecast. But having a healthy quarterback should make a difference, too. It might have been set up to mimic last week’s matchup if Baker Mayfield was held out due to his numerous injuries, but he’s set to play Sunday. He’ll surely pick on the Lions’ young and messy defense, which likely means Boyle will be playing catch up for much of the afternoon.
The good news is that the Browns defense has been inconsistent and often porous. Cleveland has surrendered 37 or more points in three of their last six contests, including to Joe Lombardi’s dink-and-dunk offense. If Joe can do it, so can the Lions.
Whether Boyle & Co. can keep up is to be seen, but there’s certainly an opportunity Sunday if the conditions line up for Boyle to play a pass-heavy game and rack up the stats, even if in garbage time.