The Detroit Lions look to slow down the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday in a matchup between two former number one quarterback picks. The game features Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, the number one pick in the 2009 NFL Draft, against Andrew Luck, who was drafted first overall in the 2012 NFL Draft. The Lions have lost three straight games and face a Colts team fighting for a spot in the NFL Playoffs.
Last week the Lions lost to the Houston Texans 34-31 in overtime. The game was controversial and put head coach Jim Schwartz on the hot seat and got defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh fined $30,000. The team looks to put both of these recent happenings behind them and improve to a 5-7 record on its way to a .500 season.
The Lions, who hold a 4-7 record, host the Colts, who have won five of their last six matchups. Detroit’s defense will look to shut down rookie quarterback Luck, who has put up over 3,000 passing yards this season. Indianapolis has an offense that ranks seventh in passing yards (277.7) and seventeenth in rushing yards (108.3). Detroit defends the pass better than the run and ranks twelfth in the league, giving up an average of 221.5 yards in the air per game. The matchup for Detroit is favorable against the Colts.
On offense, the key for the Lions might be putting up 30 points. Detroit has put up 30 points in three contests, representing a win and two overtime losses. Indianapolis has only reached the 30 point plateau once on the 2012 season. Detroit’s passing offense ranks first in the league with 312.5 passing yards. The team has struggled on the ground, only ranking 24th in the league with 100.5 yards per game. Matthew Stafford looks to expose the poor secondary of the Colts like Tom Brady did two weeks ago, when the New England Patriots won 59-24. The Colts give up 233.8 passing yards per game and will be looking to shut down Calvin Johnson, who remains on pace to break Jerry Rice’s single season yards record.
While the Colts are looking for a spot in the playoffs, the Lions are just trying to get back on their feet. The team has lost three straight games and has fallen out of playoff contention. After making the playoffs for the first time since 1999, last year’s 10-6 Lions seem a distant memory. All of the Lions seven losses have been decided by ten points or less.
This is a winnable game for the Lions and the odds in Las Vegas are actually giving the home team the advantage. Detroit needs to get out early and score and put up as many points as possible against a weak defense.