The Detroit Lions are down their top two running backs heading into Sunday’s game against the Broncos. Starting running back D’Andre Swift will miss his second consecutive game following a shoulder injury he sustained on Thanksgiving, while backup Jamaal Williams was added to the COVID-19 list late this week and will be unavailable. That leaves the Lions with seventh-round pick Jermar Jefferson, converted safety Godwin Igwebuike, and preseason superstar Craig Reynolds to pound the rock.
Bold prediction of the week: Lions running backs rush for 100+ yards against Broncos
You want bold predictions, you get bold predictions. Jermar Jefferson has 65 rushing yards on the season, Igwebuike has 93, and Reynolds has four career rushing yards. That’s not an all-star lineup in the Lions backfield. On the other side of the ball, the Broncos are led by defensive head coach Vic Fangio, whose defense is ranked ninth against the run in yards surrendered this season.
Now, those of you who watched the Lions game in Pittsburgh this season are probably thinking that it’ll just take Igwebuike or Jefferson ripping off one long run, like they did in that game. If the Lions backfield will get to 100 yards, that’ll probably be how, but don’t count on it. The longest run the Broncos defense has allowed all season is 31 yards.
To make matters worse for the Lions, they’re expected to be down to their third-string center in Ryan McCollum, after backup center Evan Brown was placed on the COVID-19 list. Brown has filled in admirably since All-Pro Frank Ragnow went down for the season, and he has been a huge part of the renewed success on the ground. McCollum, Jefferson, Igwebuike, and Reynolds will have big shoes to fill Sunday if the Lions want to keep that going.