Jets At Lions Game Preview

On September 10, 2018, in Sporting News, by Bud Thornton

Sam Darnold New York Jets The New York Jets travel to Michigan to face the Detroit Lions in the first of two games scheduled on Monday night.

The game marks the regular-season debut of rookie quarterback Sam Darnold for the Jets and rookie head coach Matt Patricia for the Lions.

If the Jets want to win this game they will need to find a way to make Darnold comfortable on the field. They must find ways to protect him and allow him to get into a rhythm to utilize all of the offensive options available to him.

He’s proven he can do it during the preseason, but he will now face only the best players of each team and facing a much faster game. Although he can scramble to escape pressure Darnold works better when given enough time inside the pocket thus is vital for the Jets to find a way to keep him on his two feet.

One way to make things easier for the Jets will be to establish a solid ground attack.  If the Jets running back manage to create enough big plays to keep the Lions defense honest they will make things a lot easier for Darnold. They will need to run well enough to create an offense balanced enough to keep the pressure off the rookie quarterback.

On paper the Jets offensive line has enough talent to open lanes against the Lions suspect defensive front, so the Jets should be able to run the football on the road.

Defensively the Jets defense must disrupt the timing of the Lions offense by putting pressure on Matt Stafford and collapsing his pocket of protection. Can the Jets defensive line step up and bring enough pressure to keep Stafford scrambling all night long.

If the Lions want to win they will need to impose a punishing running game and stay committed to it all game long.

The Lions proved in the offseason that they want to feature a strong running attack in 2018. That’s why they not only signed LeGarrette Blunt but also acquired players determined to improve their offensive line. Now they must go out and prove that they can actually sustain such attack and stay committed to it. If they do it they’ll help Stafford keep the pressure off.

In fact, Stafford will need to find ways to escape the blitz, not only with his feet but with his arm too. Fortunately for Detroit, Stafford has arm accuracy to elude tight coverage, arm strength to beat zone coverage and arm quickness to dodge pressure that’s in his face. Expect the Jets to turn up the heat up to disrupt the Lions passing game so it will be up to Stafford to stand strong and deliver big throws to move the sticks.

Expect a very close game up in Motor City, but in the end, the Jets should win the battle in the trenches on both sides of the ball. If this happens Stafford should have enough freedom to lead the Jets to victory on the road and the Jets defense should be able to keep Stafford and the rest of the Lions offense in check to outscore them.

Prediction: Jets 20 – Lions 13

 

 

 

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