The New England Patriots (1-1) will head to Ford Field to meet the Detroit Lions (0-2) in Week 3’s edition of Sunday Night Football (September 23rd at 8:20pm EST). The Lions opened as 6.5-point underdogs.
New England Patriots Outlook
The New England Patriots offense has not been the juggernaut we have become accustomed to so far in the 2018 NFL season. They possess the 18th-ranked passing attack and 18th-ranked rushing attack.
But without any strength to lean on, New England’s offense has struggled to put points on the board, averaging just 23.5 points per game (14th). This has largely been the result of Tom Brady’s unimpressive receiving corps, outside of Rob Gronkowski.
— Casey Baker (@CaseyBake16) September 19, 2018
Tom Brady will get some help soon, though, as the Patriots have traded for Josh Gordon, and Julian Edelman is a couple weeks away from his return from suspension.
Rex Burkhead and the Pats running game have not offered any relief. Burkhead has just 86 yards on the ground, averaging a lousy 3.6 yards per carry. First-round pick Sony Michel made his debut in Week 2, but it wasn’t anything to write home about. Michel gained 34 yards on ten carries.
Brady will need the help of his backs moving forward to bring the Pats offense back to its usual dominant form.
The bigger concern in New England right now is their defense. The Patriots are giving up 267.5 passing yards per game (23rd), and 135.5 rushing (27th). Unsurprisingly, the consequence is teams scoring 25.5 points per game against them, which is 20th in the league.
And focusing on last week, they were carved apart by Blake Bortles. They’ll have to do a much better job getting to the passer against Matthew Stafford this Sunday night.
Patriots vs Lions Statistical Comparison
|23.5 (13th)||PPG||22 (18th)|
|345.5 (20th)||YPG||383 (11th)|
|102 (18th)||Rushing YPG||68.5 (30th)|
|243.5 (18th)||Passing YPG||314.5 (6th)|
|25.5 (20th)||PPG Allowed||39 (31st)|
|403 (28th)||YPG Allowed||347.5 (16th)|
|135.5 (27th)||Rushing YPG Allowed||179.5 (32nd)|
|267.5 (23rd)||Passing YPG Allowed||168 (4th)|
|0 (T-13th)||Turnover Differential||-4 (T-31st)|
Detroit Lions Outlook
The offense New England will see this week isn’t terrible, but they’re also not being labelled as good. Detroit is only scoring 22.0 points per game (19th), and haven’t really played a defense that strikes fear into anyone yet.
Matthew Stafford really struggled in Week 1 against the Jets, throwing four interceptions. But he at least bounced back nicely with 347 passing yards and three TDs in Week 2. Another bright spot has been second-year WR Kenny Golladay, who leads the team in receiving yards with 203, adding one touchdown.
But this offense won’t ever be feared until they get more from their 30th-ranked running game. Bringing in LeGarrette Blount through free agency and drafting Kerryon Johnson, along with a couple offensive linemen, was supposed to fix their horrid ground game.
To their credit, Detroit has been playing from behind basically all season, so they’ve only run the ball 33 times this season (31st). Facing a Patriots defense this week that surrenders 135.5 rushing yards per game (27th), it might be a good time to try and get Kerryon Johnson and company rolling.
The Lions defense has not been a strength this season. The 168.0 passing yards per game they surrender (4th) allows teams to score a disgraceful 39.0 points per game (32nd).
The #Lions defense is only allowing 1.5-yards per carry in the 2nd & 4th quarters combined!
BUT they are also allowing an average of 14.7-yards per carry in the 3rd quarter…. pic.twitter.com/piy4bF9nfI
— Logan Lamorandier (@LLamorandier) September 19, 2018
And their secondary is solely responsible for this issue. Detroit’s pass-rushers have done their job pretty well, averaging four sacks per game (4th in the NFL). Tom Brady and his receiving corps have to be looking forward to this one.