Detroit Lions PFF Grades vs. Giants: Defense
After having the worst defense in the NFL for the first half (or so) of the 2022 season, the Detroit Lions flipped the script down the stretch, and they fared very well over the final 10 games. During the offseason, GM Brad Holmes added some key pieces to the defense, and some (including myself) believe they could be a Top 15 or so unit in 2023. Though most of the starters did not play on Friday against the New York Giants, it was the defense that led the way during the Lions' 21-16 win.
Defensive PFF Grades vs. Giants
As you can see above, the Detroit Lions' Top 5 defensive players against the Giants, according to Pro Football Focus, are as follows:
- LB Jack Campbell: 90.3
- DT Levi Onwuzurike: 89.3
- ED John Cominsky: 86.8
- LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin: 80.4
- CB Tae Hayes: 80.3
As for the Bottom 5…
- CB Will Harris: 33.7
- CB Chase Lucas: 37.5
- DT Cory Durden: 44.1
- LB Anthony Pittman: 48.5
- LB Trevor Nowaske: 48.8
The Defense Leads The Way
If you happened to read the article we posted earlier about the Lions' offensive PFF grades, or if you watched last night's game with your own eyes, you are well aware of the fact that the defense (and special teams) led the way. Rookie LB Jack Campbell had the highest PFF grade on the entire team (including both offensive and defense) with an impressive 90.3. It was also nice to see Levi Onwuzurike, who is coming off an injury, earn the second-highest grade (89.3) on the team.
TL;DR (too long didn't read)
- Dramatic Turnaround in Lions' Defense: After a tumultuous start in the 2022 season, where they held the unenviable title of the worst defense in the NFL, the Detroit Lions made a commendable recovery during the latter half. Their performance in the final 10 games showcased a revitalized defensive unit, largely due to the strategic additions made by GM Brad Holmes during the offseason.
- Defensive PFF Grades Highlight Standouts: Pro Football Focus's analysis of the Lions' defensive performance against the New York Giants spotlighted several players. The top five graded players were LB Jack Campbell (90.3), DT Levi Onwuzurike (89.3), ED John Cominsky (86.8), LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin (80.4), and CB Tae Hayes (80.3).
- Defense Steals the Show: Despite the mixed reviews on the Lions' offensive performance against the Giants, their defense, supplemented by special teams, emerged as the undoubted heroes of the match. This is exemplified by rookie LB Jack Campbell, who not only topped the defensive PFF grades but also outshone every other player across both offensive and defensive segments with an outstanding score of 90.3.
Bottom Line: The Lions' Defensive Resurgence
The Detroit Lions have impressively transformed their defensive narrative from the earlier struggles of 2022 to potentially becoming a formidable unit in 2023. Standout performances, particularly from Campbell and Onwuzurike during Friday's preseason game, are testaments to the team's renewed vigor. As the Lions showcased against the Giants, their defense, rejuvenated and reinforced, is poised to be a cornerstone of their success in the upcoming season. Oh, by the way, the Lions rested most of their defensive starters, so look out!