The regular season for the Detroit Lions is finally here! Here are five key matchups for the Monday night showdown against the New York Jets:
1. QB Matthew Stafford vs QB Sam Darnold
Stafford will finally play a whole game. After teasing the fans with Stafford’s quarterback play, we then had to sit through the Cassel and Rudock reps that were painful, to say the least. Stafford knows this is a huge game, not only for the Lions but for Coach Patrica. Look for Stafford to come out slinging it deep to Marvin Jones against the Jets lackluster defensive backs.
Darnold will get his first ever NFL start, in prime time, on Monday Night Football. Not only that, but he will be the youngest QB to ever start an NFL game. Between that, no star receivers to assist him, and going up against the NFL interception leader from last season in Darius Slay, Darnold will have his hands full.
2. LB Jarrad Davis vs RB Bilal Powell
Davis has shown flashes of being a top LB in the NFL. On a negative note, he has also shown zero cover skills. Davis will need to step up in his second year after not only being a first round pick but also voted to be a captain by his peers.
Bilal Powell is no slouch at RB last year — totaling 772 rushing yards and avg 4.2 yards per carry. Davis will need to fill his gap and cover Powell when he goes out on passing downs. Powell added 170 yards through the air last year so although he does not catch it often, he does have the ability. Davis needs to be ready.
3. Lions Pass Rush vs Jets O-Line
The Lions have to get to the QB. With this being Sam Darnold’s first ever career NFL game after being the 3rd overall pick in this past Aprils draft, the Lions need to get to him before he can settle in and become comfortable. With new additions in the pass rush attack like LB Eli Harold, DE Romeo Okwara, and LB Marquis Flowers as well as Coach Patrica taking the training wheels of preseason off of the playbook, I believe fans will see a different defense, and a pleasant surprise on Monday night.
4. Lions O-Line vs Jets Pass Rush
The Lions have to protect Stafford. The season is riding on that. If the Lions lose Stafford for any number of games, kiss the season goodbye. So against the Jets, the Lions will need all of their starters to communicate with each other on stunts and handing off D-Linemen after very limited work together in the preseason. T.J. Lang will be back on the line as he was not listed on the injury report.
5. Lions Run Game vs Jets Defense
I don’t need to remind Lions fans how long it has been since we have had a 100-yard rusher so I won’t, but I also don’t think the Lions will have one in this game. The Lions have four useful backs and already admitted they will use a running back by committee approach. Although we have two or three backs capable of running for 100 yards, I doubt any of them will get enough carries to do it — unless someone breaks a long run play. I see both Blount and Johnson running for about 60-70 yards each.Follow here: