Earlier this week, Jeremy Reisman of Pride of Detroit reached out with an interesting offer. He asked for a contributor for Windy City Gridiron to offer up three reasons why the Chicago Bears might lose Sunday’s game. In exchange, he offered up the three reasons he thinks the Detroit Lions might lose instead.
Here’s what Jeremy told me.
Reason #1 - The Lions defense cannot defense mobile quarterback
Detroit has an incredibly young, inexperienced defense, and that has left them susceptible to undisciplined play. Where we have seen it the most is in their pass rushing lanes, as defensive linemen regularly get overeager and overrun the quarterback, leaving huge gaps for speedy quarterbacks to exploit. Jalen Hurts took advantage of that in Week 1, rushing for a season-high 90 yards against Detroit. So did Geno Smith (49 rushing yards), Aaron Rodgers (40) and even Carson Wentz (23).
They are particularly vulnerable on third downs, where the Lions are allowing the highest conversion rate in the NFL (yes, even worse than the Bears). Last week, Aaron Rodgers converted a third-and-10 and a third-and-17 with his legs.
I’ve heard that the Bears may have someone capable of doing that over and over and over again.
It’s nice to know that the legend of Justin Fields is growing, if nothing else.
Reason #2 - The Lions rushing attack has been tamed lately
With D’Andre Swift still battling both an ankle and a shoulder injury, the Lions rushing attack is missing the big-play potential it had early in the season. Just look at the rushing efficiency in the first four games vs. the last four.
First four games: 112 carries, 656 yards (5.86 YPC), 7 TDs
Last four games: 102 carries, 417 yards (4.09 YPC), 2 TDs
Detroit still has a decent running game, but it’s clear some of their early-season numbers were skewed by a ridiculous amount of long runs. They had four rushes for 50+ yards in the first four weeks of the season and have had zero since.
It’s unclear how big Swift’s role will be this week, but out of protection in the last two games they’ve mostly used him as a receiver (9 targets) rather than a rusher (7 rushes).
Sunday looks to be a battle of the very movable object against the somewhat resistible force, then?
Reason #3 - Jared Goff is bad when the Lions have no receivers... and the Lions probably won’t have any receivers
Through the first few games of the season, Jared Goff was looking like an efficient quarterback that could be recapturing the magic he had in his early Rams days. Just take a look at his statistics through four week:
Through Week 4, @Lions QB @JaredGoff16 ranks:— Detroit Lions PR (@LionsPR) October 5, 2022
- 1st in 20+ yard completions (18)
- t-1st in passing TDs (11)
- 3rd in passing yards (1,126)
- 3rd in TD % (7.3%)
His 11 TD passes through the first 4 games of the season tie a franchise record.#OnePride pic.twitter.com/CDV79WEj9H
Then the injuries started hitting. DJ Chark missed Week 4 and hasn’t returned since. Amon-Ra St. Brown has been battling an ankle injury since Week 3 and missed most of the Cowboys game after going into concussion protocol in the first quarter. Josh Reynolds has been visibly limited by ankle, knee and now a back injury that caused him to miss last week.
The Lions won’t have Chark this week, Reynolds is trending towards missing his second straight game, and—oh yeah—the Lions also traded away T.J. Hockenson last week. That leaves the following as Detroit’s receiving corps: 6-foot-0 Amon-Ra St. Brown, 5-foot-8 Kalif Raymond, and 5-foot-10 Tom Kennedy—and fifth-round rookie tight end James Mitchell (3 career catches). No deep threats, no size mismatches. Just short, speedy players.
So how has Goff looked with a beat-up receiving corps? About as good as you’d expect. From our own Erik Schlitt:
First 4 weeks: 92-of-151 (60.9%), 1,126 yards (7.5 Y/A), 11 TDs, 3 INTs, 0 fumbles lost, 99.9 passer rating
Last 4 games: 81-of-124 (65.3%), 915 yards (7.4 Y/A), 3 TDs, 4 INTs, 3 fumbles lost, 81.9 passer rating
So, it’s possible that Detroit’s quarterback is back on the downward swing while Chicago’s quarterback is on the rise.
However the game turns out, we’re glad to Jeremy for reaching out and keeping things civil and interesting.