Detroit Lions PFF Grades vs. Giants: Offense
Many believe the Detroit Lions will have one of the top offenses in the NFL in 2023, but it sure did not look like that on Friday night against the New York Giants. Now, to be fair, the offense the Lions trotted out onto the field against the Giants (most of the starters did not play) looked nothing like the offense they will deploy in Week 1 against the Kansas City Chiefs. With that being said, the Lions' offensive players who did play left much to be desired.
Offensive (literally) PFF Grades vs. Giants
Here is how Pro Football Focus graded the Lions' offensive players against the Giants:
As you can see above, the Lions' Top 5 offensive players against the Giants, according to Pro Football Focus, are as follows:
- WR Chase Cota: 77.2
- QB Adrian Martinez: 74.4
- LT Connor Galvin: 72.3
- QB Nate Sudfeld: 72.2
- TE James Mitchell: 71.3
As for the Bottom 5…
- TE Sam LaPorta: 36.7
- LT Obinna Eze: 42.3
- FB Jason Cabinda: 43.4
- TE Daniel Helm: 43.5
- WR Maurice Alexander: 44.1
Take PFF Grades With a Grain of Salt
Let's address the elephant in the room. If you watched the game last night, there is no way in heck that you walked away thinking that quarterback Nate Sudfeld was anything more than below average. Yet, as you can see above, he was the fourth-highest-ranked offensive player for the Lions against the Giants. I have never been a big fan of PFF grades because they are so subjective, and this is just another reason why. Nothing against Sudfeld, of course, because he seems like a great dude, but even he would admit that he did not play well.
TL;DR (too long didn't read)
- Limited Starting Players for the Lions: The Detroit Lions' performance against the New York Giants was not a true reflection of their potential offensive power for the 2023 season. Most of the Lions' starting offensive lineup did not play in the game, meaning the team that faced the Giants won't be the same one facing the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 1.
- PFF Grades of Lions' Players: Pro Football Focus (PFF) graded the Detroit Lions' offensive players based on their performance against the Giants. The top five Lions' offensive players were WR Chase Cota (77.2), QB Adrian Martinez (74.4), LT Connor Galvin (72.3), QB Nate Sudfeld (72.2), and TE James Mitchell (71.3).
- Skepticism Over PFF Grades: PFF grades, while informative, should be taken with caution due to their subjective nature. A clear example from the game was the grading of quarterback Nate Sudfeld. Even though he was ranked as the fourth-best Lions' offensive player against the Giants with a grade of 72.2, his performance, to many who watched, seemed below average.
Bottom Line: Beyond the PFF Numbers
While the Detroit Lions' suboptimal showing against the New York Giants raised eyebrows, it's crucial to recognize that their main offensive arsenal was largely on the sidelines. Moreover, while Pro Football Focus offers valuable insights, the grades it assigns can sometimes diverge from on-field perceptions, emphasizing the need to contextualize statistics with actual game-time observations.