If the Detroit Lions want to come away victorious against the Kansas City Chiefs, here are players that must step up.
1. QB Matthew Stafford
Stafford is going to need to have the mindset of outdueling Patrick Mahomes. Stafford has done a tremendous job of spreading the ball to the open receiver or tight end regardless of who it is, and he will need to continue that as the KC defense is lacking in multiple areas.
Stafford should be able to have a run game for the first time this year as Chiefs are among the league-worst in run defense. With the defense having to commit to having extra man in the box for run support, Stafford should be able to sling it all day long.
2. RB Kerryon Johnson
As I said above, the Chiefs have a bad run defense and it’s up to Johnson to exploit it. If Johnson can’t find his groove and the run game stumbles again, then the Chiefs won’t have to dedicate an extra man in the box and Stafford will have smaller windows to try and throw too. Johnson is the main cog for this offense on Sunday.
3. DE Trey Flowers
Flowers is coming off of a career game last week with 8 tackles. Not only that, but the Chiefs starting LT Eric Fisher is out for this game, meaning Flowers will have a mismatch. Between Flowers shaking off the rust and getting back to game shape and the fact Fisher is out for KC, look for Flowers to be all over Mahomes.
4. S Tracy Walker
Walker has been the team leader in tackles all year long, he is always around the ball. With the Chiefs high-powered offense, look for Walker to be heavily involved. Between his coverage ability and his run support, Walker may be the most important player on defense Sunday.
5. T.J. Hockenson
Hockenson shown what he can do week one against an NFL defense. The last two weeks, he’s been either hiding is pass protection (which he has done well) or dropping two possible touchdown passes last week. Hockenson has had a better year than the stats sheets show, but it is time for him to shine against this bad defense. With Kansas City most likely focusing on Jones and/or Golladay, Hockenson should be able to steal some targets.