At 8-3, the Detroit Lions are still in great shape to secure a division title and make the playoffs, despite their recent struggles. But if they want to make sure those things happen, they’ll have to get back to what was working before.
Normally their most reliable unit, the Lions offense, has struggled to take care of the ball in the past two games. During that time, they’ve turned the ball over six times (seven if you include a special teams fumble from Craig Reynolds). When Jared Goff is able to protect the football and tap into his “game manager” identity, the offense is among the best in the NFL. But every once in a while we see long stretches of poor and careless play.
The Lions’ issues defensively have been well documented. They struggle against mobile quarterbacks. The last two weeks only further proved what we already knew. The Lions defense did not offer up much resistance against Justin Fields and the Bears or Justin Love and the Packers, though it certainly didn’t help that they handed each team a short field on multiple occasions.
Next week’s game against the New Orleans Saints is the perfect opportunity for the Lions to bounce back and clean up some of their mistakes. Offensively, the Saints offense rank in the bottom half of the league in DVOA (20th overall, 22nd passing, 10th rushing). Quarterback Derek Carr is having a very mediocre year and does not possess the type of dual-threat ability that has terrorized the Lions’ defense this year. In theory, this should be a great chance for the defense to regain some confidence moving forward.
On the flip side, this could be a challenging matchup for the Lions’ offense. The Saints defense isn’t quite elite, but they are respectable (13th overall in DVOA, 11th passing, 22nd rushing) and they have been very opportunistic in creating turnovers. Currently, they are tied for third in the league with 20 takeaways in 11 games. For comparison’s sake, the Lions have just 12 takeaways in 11 games, ranking t-27th.
Today’s Question of the Day is...
What do you want to see from the Lions against the Saints this week?
Other than simply winning (please just win), I’d like to see the Lions win the turnover battle against the Saints. They currently have a turnover differential of -5 on the season compared to the Saints’ +6. I’d like to see Goff shake off those past two games and come out looking like the QB we saw to finish last year and start this season.
I’d also like to see the Lions’ defense get more aggressive. Get creative with blitzing when the four-man rush isn’t getting home. Focus on forcing fumbles and creating turnovers when possible. This is a team that has the second-fewest forced fumbles in the NFL right now for a team that is constantly preaching their desire to create turnovers. I understand that it’s easier said than done, but it needs to happen if they want to compete for more than just a playoff appearance.
Lions fans, what do you think? Let’s hear from you. Don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comments below.