So welcome to Week 2 of the new gameshow ‘Can the Lions beat the premier teams in the NFL?’! If you tuned in last week you will have seen the offense decline to turn up, the defense keep on rolling and the team lose by one-score to the league’s no.2 team (arguably). So how will the Lions do against the league’s no. 1 team (again, arguably)? What are the keys?
1) Pressure Tom Brady
I’ve always been a massive fan of this guy and his team. The team that knocked the Pats off their perch years ago were the New York Giants. They showed (in a couple of superbowls) that Tom Brady can be rattled with constant pressure. Unfortuantely, Detroit’s D-line didn’t register a single sack last week against Arizona, which was a major surprise. To give victory a chance, Suh, Ansah and the rest of the boys must play big this Sunday.
2) The offense must produce, not necessarily explode
I read on a Lions fan’s tweets recently that the offense needs to explode. It doesn’t. It just needs to produce. Had the Lions scored just one touchdown last week, they could have beaten the Cardinals in overtime and the Monday headline would have been completely different. Just finding a way for the offense to click this week would be enough to knock off the Patriots
3) Shore up the running game
A lack of running game has hurt the team this season but last week, Joique Bell found a way to pound the rock, rushing for 85 yards and averaging 6.1 yards per carry. With Reggie Bush likely active as well, it’s time for the running game to improve for the stretch ahead.
4) Limit Rob Gronkowski
New England’s TE is having a stellar year, with 9 touchdowns and 734 receiving yards already in 2014. He has been the Patriot’s most consistent offensive weapon, and it is crucial that safeties Quinn and Ihedigbo and the linebacking corps contain him.
5) Stop Jonas Gray
Last week, Gray rushed for 199 yards and 4 TDs against the Indianapolis defense. Allowing him those kind of numbers would be a bad idea for the Lions this coming Sunday.
And I’ll finish with a final thought, the Lions won’t win the season or lose the season on Sunday. There’s still plenty of football to be played. What does matter though, for the sake of the whole season, is that the offense starts to produce. How well the offense plays from now will, I think, define the success of the rest of the season. The defense is solid and the kicking game (thanks to Matt Prater) is solid. If the offense plays well, it could be the start of something very special.