Following their come-from-behind 20-17 win over the New York Jets, the Detroit Lions now sit at 7-7 on the season, and their chances of making the 2022 NFL Playoffs, according to FiveThirtyEight, is now 40%. In fact, if everything goes right for the Lions in Week 16, they could move into a playoff slot by the time you go to bed on Christmas Eve. That being said, it all starts with the Lions beating the Carolina Panthers this coming Saturday afternoon.
3 Detroit Lions who need to BALL OUT against the Carolina Panthers
In order for the Lions to beat the Panthers on Christmas Eve, they will certainly need a full team effort, but here are three players who will have to BALL OUT against the Panthers.
Jeff Okudah has been extremely good against the run (81.0 PFF Grade) in his first season back since suffering an Achilles injury in 2021, but he has left much to be desired in terms of coverage (54.6 PFF Grade). In fact, over the past two weeks, Okudah has posted PFF coverage grades of 41.3 (vs. Vikings) and 34.1 (vs. Jets). The Panthers cannot run the football (No. 29 rushing DVOA over past seven weeks), so you can bet they will try to test the Lions' secondary early and often. Okudah has to step up!
With veteran S DeShon Elliott likely out for Saturday's game against the Panthers, there will be more pressure on rookie Kerby Joseph on the Lions' last line of defense. Joseph has played well for a rookie, and he has certainly made some big plays along the way, but he has struggled in coverage over the past three weeks. Joseph finished No. 1 overall in the Pro Bowl Fan Vote, now is his time to show why he deserves it.
Ok, this one is obvious, but there is no way to not include Jared Goff on a list like this because he is arguably the most important player on the field each week for the Detroit Lions. There is no sugar-coating it, Goff has struggled on the road in 2022 (PFF Grades of 62.8, 56.7, 54.8, 52.5, 47.9, and 51.8), and at some point, it could end up costing the Lions against a good team. The Panthers have the No. 24 pass defense (according to DVOA) so far this season, which means Goff will have a chance to make some things happen. The question is, will Goff put his road woes behind him and BALL OUT for the Lions on Saturday against the Panthers?
Nation, which Detroit Lions players do you think need to BALL OUT against the Panthers?