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Who is the Detroit Lions’ Player to Watch vs. Broncos?

With so many replacement players set to play on Sunday, here’s who we’re going to be watching closely.

NFL: NOV 14 Lions at Steelers Photo by Shelley Lipton/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

If you have not read the Detroit Lions injury report headed into their game in Denver you might want to save yourself some anguish and skip it. If you do pass on it but want a glimpse of what it looks like I’ll give you a hint… it’s ugly. As of Saturday night, many players are listed as questionable due to the flu that is running through the team and/or being on the COVID list (along with many having standard injuries). Things are not trending in the right direction at all.

That means some of the players we typically key in on, hoping they develop and have good performances (win, lose or yes even draw) might be wearing athletic leisure Lions gear (AKA in street clothes). Even in a season with little hope, we have had some Honolulu blue and silver linings with watching several players who we hope are foundational pieces going forward. Penei Sewell, Julian Okwara, the rookie DTs (Levi Onwuzurike and Alim McNeill) and D’Andre Swift come to mind. Okwara and Swift are already out. Onwuzurike and McNeill were dealing with flu symptoms on Friday, and Sewell is dealing with the flu and a shoulder injury.

We will still have some other young hopefuls likely playing such as Jerry Jacobs but it might be time to shift our focus on a few new faces. That brings us to our Question of the Day:

Who’s the Detroit Lions’ “Player to Watch” for Week 14?

Mr. Jefferson, welcome to the BIG SHOW! With both D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams out, Jermar Jefferson might be in line for the lion’s share of carries (sorry). Both Jefferson and fellow running back Godwin Igwebuike will have a huge opportunity to shine against the Denver Broncos. They’re both young and unheralded but also play a position where the unheralded can impress and succeed with the right opportunity.

Jefferson is a seventh-round selection from this past draft class who was surprised he was available so late. He will have his opportunity to prove scouts wrong this game, which could lead to an expanded role this year and beyond. Igwebuike has had more production and has been more of a story (changing positions) but Jefferson will have his biggest opportunity yet. He has been solid in limited production with 10 carries, 65 yards and two TDs along with four catches for 23 yards. Jefferson will have a great chance to outproduce his yearly totals in carries, receptions and total yards in one game. If he does, he will be on his way to potentially carving out a nice role even when our main backs return.

But let’s see what you think? What player or players are you keying in on? Jermar is solid choice but there are other good candidates as well. Let’s hear it.

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After winning their first NFC North title in 30 years, the Lions have unfinished business this offseason. Stay updated with Jeremy Reisman through Pride of Detroit Direct, our newsletter offering up exclusive analysis. Sign up with NFCNORTH30 to get 30% off after your free trial.