The Detroit Lions host the red-hot Los Angeles Rams on Sunday night for the opening round of the NFL playoffs. In order to stop Matthew Stafford and company, the Lions are going to need a full team effort to walk away with the franchise’s first playoff victory in 32 years.
But over the week, we asked our Pride of Detroit Direct subscribers one simple question: Which player holds the biggest key to a Lions victory over the Rams on Sunday?
We got a wide variety of answers from our responders. Here’s a look at some of my favorite:
Something tells me Brian Branch is going to come up big and be our best player.
He’s an X factor that AG will move around and Matthew Stafford can get careless and times and I expect Brian to be opportunistic with a pick and some PBUs.
I almost said Amon-Ra St. Brown, he will be huge of course, but with the Rams passing attack Aidan needs to have a game like he did against Dallas or Stafford will be able to light up our secondary.
Goff is probably the obvious choice, but I’m going to go with David Montgomery here. For all the reasons y’all have mentioned, I’m worried that Stafford is going to light the Lions’ pass defense on fire. So if the Lions want to win, our offense has to be able to keep Stafford on the sideline.
To me, that looks like building an early lead and then dominating time of possession with an effective run game.
Look for Gibbs to be the difference maker in this game, with most of the damage coming from passes. IMHO the Lions have under used that skillset of his most of the season and LA’s LB’s don’t match up well against him.
I’m thinking Brian Branch is a key player. I may be making this up, but feel like he’s the kind of be anywhere defender that messes up Stafford. I see an INT and some PDs and a sack to show out and be the game changer.
Can I cheat and say the 5th man Blitzing? But seriously, whether it’s Anzalone, Campbell, Barnes, Iffy, Branch, or CJGJ, the key player will be the 5th man!
I love all of these answers, but I am going to go in a different direction. With the Rams offense doing most of its damage over the middle of the field—both in the run and pass game—I think this is a huge game for the Lions linebackers. If Alex Anzalone and Jack Campbell are at their best, I think the Lions could win this one handily.
Let me know what you all think? Scroll to the bottom of the page and sound off in our comment section. And if you want to be part of our Pride of Detroit Direct audience, subscribe here.