The Lions have the pieces at least offensively to make a push for the playoffs and possibly the Super Bowl. True Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley will be free agents after this season and the Lions defensive future is murky at best. This is a make or break year for Stafford the guys has loads of potential, but he has been plagued by poor decisions and sloppy passing in critical situations. The Lions have brought in Jim Caldwell the man who coached Peyton Manning first as his quarterbacks coach and then his head coach, to bring discipline to Stafford’s passing game.
The Browns have a new head coach and some interesting choices to make at quarterback at Manzielmania finally comes under fire in a game situation. Manzielmania could easily bring down the Pettine regime in Cleveland before it really has a chance to get going.The defense has made some changes that should help going forward.
The Browns offensively completed 55.7% of their passes with a 0.9 TD/INT differential, their offensive line giving up an average of 3.1 sacks a game. Cleveland receivers posted a 5.3 YAC average while on the ground their running backs posted an average of 4 yards per carry. The Lions offensively completed 58.5% of their passes with a 1.6 TD/INT differential. The Lions offensive line averaged 1.43 sacks a game their receivers compiled a 6.4 YAC average and they averaged 4 yards per carry. With Golden Tate now a legitimate threat opposite Calvin Johnson as well as rookie tight end Eric Ebron and Jim Caldwell’s steadying influence on Matthew Stafford the Lions offense will be far more prolific than the Brian Hoyer led Browns offense. Edge:Lions
Defensively the Browns allowed their opponents to complete 60% of their passes, with a TD/INT differential of 2.5, and averaged 2.5 sacks a game. They allowed opposing receivers to rack up a 4.9 YAC average and allowed opposing rushers to average 3.9 yards a carry. The Lions defensively allowed opposing passers to complete 59.1% of their passes with a 1.6 TD/INT differential and averaged 2.1 sacks a game. They allowed opposing receivers to compile a 5.2 YAC average and opposing runners an average of 4.2 yards a carry. The Browns defense was better than the Lions all around except in one respect creating turnovers in the passing game. Edge:Browns
The Key Matchup in this game is Johnny Manziel versus the Lions secondary. Manzielmania is here for better or worse and everyone wants to see how Manziel is going to do against an upgraded Lions secondary. Also the Lions secondary bears watching as they have yet to intercept Matthew Stafford in seven on seven drills this training camp.
Final Score: Lions 27 Browns 21