Lions fan visiting from MotownSports.com.
Just wanted to get your take on the upcoming matchup Sunday. Here's my thoughts:
Overall, Lions fans seem to be extremely excited for the team this year. There are plenty of us predicting a playoff birth for the first time in over a decade. I myself am trying to remain a bit more cautious... but it ain't easy this year.
Okay, a few more details:
The offense starts with Matt Stafford. He started out last week really shaky, but quickly settled down. He really made some great throws. If you have a chance to look at the three TD passes, each one was a thing of beauty, placed exactly where his receiver could get the ball, but no one else. The big question is, of course, can he stay healthy.
Beyond the QB, the big name in receivers is of course Calvin Johnson. But don't fall asleep on Nate Burleson. He had a great preseaon and did well in the Tampa game as well. Beyond that we have two very good TEs in Pettigrew and Scheffler. Our OL does a good job of pass blocking.
Run blocking, on the other hand, is not a strength of the line. They aren't horrible... just not good. Best if the feature back. He's got good speed and catches the ball well out of the back field. But he's still young and a little too tentative at times. He also doesn't seem to have real great vision. The Lions got 126 yards on the ground last week. This is a considered a strong performance for the Lions.
The strength of the defense has got to be the DL. We have a lot of big powerful guys. It's quite unlikely that Fairley, our first round pick from this Spring, will play (he injured his foot in camp and hasn't played in any Preseason or last week). But that that doesn't mean the line will be any weaker. The Lions didn't get very many sacks last week, but Freeman (Tampa's QB) is pretty mobile and was usually able to elude long enough to throw the ball away or get a yard or two.
Our linebackers are probably the most upgraded unit. That year this was a HUGE weakness for us. If a RB could get through the DL, he could figure at least a 5-10 yard pickup from there as the LBs were slow, often out of place, or just not sure tacklers. It's still early, but so far this year this is now a strength of the team. Not to the same level of the DL to be sure, but at least it's a positive, not a liability.
Our secondary is still suspect in my opinion. But, like the linebackers, it's better than it was last year. We have two very good safeties in Delmas and Spievey (Pronounced like 'spud' (drop the 'd' of course) and 'vay' (rhymes with way)). Spievey was drafted a corner, but didn't do great there. He's still learning the safety position a little, but he's making a lot of tackles and is a hard hitter. As for corners, Houston is decent, everyone else is okay.
Can I just start by saying I hate the new kick off rules? Okay, now that that's done...
Our place kicker is the ageless Jason Hanson. 41 years old, been in the league for 20 years, still one of the best. He doesn't have quite the leg that he used to have, but he's still very, very accurate. One interesting thing to watch for, however, is our new punter. He's a rookie that beat out the veteran in training camp. He's done well kicking, but I'm not sure that he's totally comfortable as our holder, yet. Could be interesting to see if there are problems on FGs with that.
Finally, the cover teams... they aren't as good as I'd like 'em to be, that's for sure! We left a huge one go to start the game last week. Down to the 20 yard line. Ugh. Harder to judge them on returns because so many just went into the endzone.
Well, there is it. Hope you found it helpful. I'd love to hear your opinion and if you could do a similar run down on your Chiefs, I'd appreciate it.