It’s week 9 in the NFL and the Detroit Lions square off against the Oakland Raiders. Even though the Lions are .500 record-wise, this game is already a must-win for Detroit. Given how difficult the NFC is this year, the Lions can’t afford to lose. Here are five Lions that need to play well.
1. DE Trey Flowers
Flowers is coming off his best game of the year with two sacks and seven pressures. He needs to replicate last week’s performance for the Lions defense to start to be successful. If he can start to draw more double teams, it will free up a teammate somewhere along the line so they can make an impact.
2. WR Danny Amendola
Amendola has been a somewhat quiet assassin for this receiving corps. He gets the job done week in and week out and has been a very reliable weapon. If Amendola continues his production, opponents are going to be forced to gameplan against him and will free up others. If they don’t, then Danny will just keep doing what he’s doing.
3. S Will Harris
After not getting as much work as I expected last week, there’s no way Harris does not get the most snaps of his career in this game after the injury to Walker. The Lions may use Harris as an extra cover guy on TE Waller, but they may delegate that role more to S Tavon Wilson. Either way, we should all get a good look at the third-round rookie.
4. RB Ty Johnson
The Lions need a running game. They have not had one consistently since the days of Reggie Bush. Johnson may not be the bell-cow type, but he currently is the Lions leader in the backfield with no better alternatives. Johnson has shown flashes of what he can do from time to time. He needs to shine with his extra opportunities. Rookie sixth-round pick or not, he can win the starting job for the rest of the season if he demonstrates good vision and utilizes his speed in space.
5. RB Paul Perkins
Perkins was signed, then cut, then signed back all in a span of two weeks. He knows he is not guaranteed a roster spot and the Lions brought in free agent running backs for workouts. If he does not perform, then he is once again out of a job. Hopefully, this motivates him enough to provide a little extra juice. If the Lions did not see something they like in him, then they would not bring him back. So, he needs to show us all what the Lions see in him to warrant another opportunity.