The Detroit Lions, sitting at 2-3 on the season, will be playing a critical game this week against the 3-2 Los Angeles Rams. Coming off of a huge victory against the Philadelphia Eagles, the Lions hope to use the momentum to win their 3rd game of the season. Here are the keys to a Lions victory on Sunday.
1. Keep the penalties down
The Lions were able to keep the penalties down in their win against the Eagles, having only two for 18 yards. Prior to that game, they were ranked 2nd worst in the league with 92 yards per game. Countless times we have seen the Lions driving downfield, looking like they are about to score, and then have a call go against them that will end the drive. Overall, Detroit is currently averaging 8.2 penalties a game, for the 4th worst in the NFL. Getting this number down should be the Lions first priority.
2. Keep Todd Gurley in check
Todd Gurley has been less than stellar this season ranking 19th in the league in rushing yards. The Lions are ranked 23rd against the run, allowing 4.9 yards per attempt this season. Most of the teams the Lions have played this season have been able to run the ball at will, even with 2nd and 3rd string running backs. Gurley might not be setting the league on fire this season, but the Lions should make sure it stays that way.
Jim Caldwell on Todd Gurley and his lack of production: "Don't be fooled by it. That guy is dangerous." He has… https://t.co/SDwZsdrhhB
— Michael Rothstein (@mikerothstein) October 12, 2016
3. Stopping the Donald
Matthew Stafford works best when the Lions offensive line is at its best. It will be a tall task for the line this week as they face off against a premier defensive lineman, Aaron Donald. Donald is one of the quickest defensive tackles in the NFL and the last time he played against the Lions, he racked up three sacks and six hits on Stafford. Heading into the NFL season, Donald was ranked the 14th best player in the league, according to the NFL Network top 100 and when those rankings come out again next season, he will likely be even higher. If the Lions want to have a chance in this one, they have to limit the dominance of the Rams defensive star.
4. Make plays when needed
In their big win against the Eagles, the Lions came out like the season was on the line as they scored on their first drive of the game. When the offense was unable come up with the plays as the game went on, the defense stepped up, holding the explosive Philadelphia offense to just 10 points in the first half. Darius Slay is the key to the Lions defense stepping up just like last week. Having forced a fumble and having the game ending interception, Slay has finally started living up to his nickname “Big Play Slay”.