MetLife Stadium should have a playoff-like atmosphere on Sunday, as both the Detroit Lions and New York Jets are fighting for their postseason lives this week.
The Lions are hot and confident, winning five of their last six games. The offense has continued to be one of the league’s most potent, but it’s been their defensive improvement that has pushed them from an annoying team for opponents to a dangerous one. After allowing over 32 points per game in their first seven games, the Lions defense has held opponents to 20.3 points per game in the last six.
The Jets are almost a direct inverse of the Lions. While the Lions are surging, the Jets are seeing their grasp on a playoff spot slowly slip out of their fingers, having lost three of their last four games. That said, they’re an incredibly dangerous team on their own due to their impressive defense. Only three opponents all season have scored more than 25 points against the Jets, and two of those happened at the beginning of the season.
To give you a sense of just how good this defense is, they rank in the top 10 in the following categories: points allowed (sixth), yards allowed (third), yards per play (t-first), pressure percentage (eighth), sacks (t-fifth), passer rating allowed (second), interceptions (t-seventh), passes defended (t-10th), and yards per carry allowed (fifth).
So what happens when you pit a top-10 offense against a top-10 defense?
“They’re good and we’re good and it’ll be a good battle,” Lions quarterback Jared Goff said this week. “It’ll be fun.”
The Jets rank sixth in pass defense (as measured by dropback EPA), but the Lions have faced five teams ranked in the top 10 already this season, to wildly varying results. Take a look at Goff’s stats against those teams:
- Patriots (No. 1 pass defense): 19-of-35, 229 yards, 0 TDs, 1 INT, 62.7 passer rating
- Eagles (No. 2): 21-of-37, 215 yards, 2 TDs 1 INT, 80.4 passer rating
- Cowboys (No. 3): 21-of-26, 228 yards, 0 TDs, 2 INTs, 71.2 passer rating
- Commanders (No. 8): 20-of-34, 256 yards, 4 TDs, 0 INTs, 121.7 passer rating
- Bills (No. 10): 23-of-37, 240 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs, 98.9 passer rating
Currently, both teams are just on the outside of their respective conference’s playoff picture, so tensions and emotions will be high Sunday afternoon.
Will the Lions continue their winning ways, or will the Jets prove to be the biggest challenge over the past couple months and put a damper on postseason hopes?
Check out all of our Lions vs. Jets Week 15 coverage below.