The Lions astonishingly coming off their bye week are 6-2 and holding onto first place in the NFC North. As a Lions fans I am uneasy as I have watched a number of second half implosions in recent years, most recently last year. Nonetheless this year I can approach each game with cautious optimism as Stafford seems to have gotten better at not turning the ball over and the defense seems to come up with the timely stops late in the game. The loss of Nick Fairley will hurt the Lions defensive line, but I’m hoping that C.J. Mosely who has not played poorly this year will be able to step up and do a decent job filling in. Calvin Johnson should be back this week from his ankle injury, and if that is the case the Lions have the most dangerous 1-2 punch at wide receiver in the NFL. This should also open up the offense for Matthew Stafford and give him a chance to get the Lions out to an early lead and take some pressure off the defense which has been carrying them for some time now. Right now Matthew Stafford has a 1.4 TID and this worries me because most starting quarterbacks with a TID under 2.0 generally turn out a losing season for their team. With that said Stafford is completing 61.2% of his passes and Lions receivers have a 6.3 YAC average this season. Lions second round pick Kyle Van Noy will be making his debut this week against the Dolphins and this should add depth to an already talented linebacking corps. The Defense is allowing a 62.4 completion percentage from opposing quarterbacks while only giving up 3.3 yards a carry and limiting opposing receivers to a 5.9 YAC. The Defense also boasts a TID of 0.
The Miami Dolphins are tied for second place in the AFC East with the Buffalo Bills at 5-3. The Dolphins got off to a similar start last year and imploded. The Lions in many statistical categories are the number one ranked defense in the league, that said come game time that doesn’t count for much. The Dolphins need to play a close game this week, if they get blown out, I don’t know if the Dolphins are good enough to recover from a blow out. Tannehill is completing 63.3 percent of his passes with a TID of 2.9, Tannehill is playing better than Stafford at this point at the Lions weakness is their secondary. The Dolphins are averaging 4.8 yards a carry, I expect that to go down against the Lions front seven. The Dolphins wide receivers have a 4.9 YAC, if the Lions keep the receivers in front of them it will be a long day for Tannehill in the passing game. The Dolphins defense is only allowing opposing passers to complete 58.5% of their passes. The Dolphins secondary has allowed opposing receivers to compile a 5.1 YAC average and with the return of Megatron this could be a long day for the Dolphins defense. Their rushing defense is allowing 4 yards a carry to opposing backs.
The key matchup in this game is Calvin Johnson versus the Dolphins secondary. If the Dolphins can take Johnson out of the game they should be able to keep the game close. Since Megatron got injured the Lions have managed to score just enough points to win, they have not been able to win big. If Megatron has a big game the Lions win in a blowout.
Personally I think Calvin Johnson is itching to get back on the field and show everyone that he is still the number one receiver in the game and with Golden Tate lining up on the opposite side, I think the Dolphins corners have a job that they just won’t be able to get done. I think Megatron has a huge game.
Final Score: Detroit Lions 42 Miami Dolphins 21