This week the Detroit Lions will hit the road and travel to Carolina for a Week 16 matchup against the Panthers. The Lions are coming in riding a three-game winning streak after a close win over the New York Jets, a game that the offense struggled a little bit, but the defense held the Jets offense at bay to secure the 20-17 victory. The Panthers come into this one after losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers by a score of 24-16. The Panthers currently sit at 5-9 and are one game back of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for first place in the NFC South Division so this is a game they are coming in with something to play for against the Lions.
Detroit Lions vs. Carolina Panthers: How Do the Lions and Panthers Matchup?
A few weeks ago, if we talked about this matchup, it would have been how the Lions could stop Christian McCaffrey but he’s now in San Francisco and not a problem in this matchup. The biggest key entering this matchup is the Lions high powered rushing attack against the Panthers bottom of the league rushing defense. The Panthers rank 22nd in yards allowed this season while the Lions are 13th in the league in total rushing yards and, they are also third in the league in rushing touchdowns.
The Panthers have been rolling with Sam Darnold at quarterback the last few weeks since he came back from injury which sent Baker Mayfield out of town. Darnold is 2-1 since his return with his first loss coming this past week. The Lions' defense ranks at the bottom of the league in every category.
In the last seven games since the Lions have been 6-1, they have allowed only 19.9 points per game and have scored 28 points per game in that stretch. The Panthers however in games Darnold has been back, have allowed 19.3 points per game and scored 23 points per game. Jamaal Williams has been held scoreless in recent weeks, having not scored since week 13 against the Jaguars. He still currently holds the league lead for rushing touchdowns this season with 14.
The Detroit Lions vs. Carolina Panthers Way-Too-Early Game Prediction
When it comes to the Detroit Lions vs. Carolina Panthers, it seems like a no-brainer on who is going to win but those are the games you always must watch out for. I expect the Lions to force a turnover as they have in every game this season except for one, the first game of the season against the Philadelphia Eagles. With that stat of forcing a turnover for 14 straight weeks, the Lions will force at least a turnover.
Let's go a little off the board and say they will force two turnovers they will recover a fumble and pick off Darnold once, all while sacking Darnold three times. Jeff Okudah did not look great against the Jets yesterday, but I think he shuts down DJ Moore and has the interception for the Lions. The three sacks will come from Aidan Hutchinson and James Houston who will have two sacks himself and a fumble recovery.
The Lions' offense will go off; Jamaal Williams will find the end zone twice and add to his 14 touchdowns while D’Andre Swift will add a rushing touchdown of his own. Jared Goff will also throw for 300-plus yards and 3 touchdowns with each being to Jameson Williams, Amon-Ra St. Brown, and Dj Chark. This game will not be close as the Lions win this one 45-20 with Carolina getting a garbage time touchdown at the end of the game. On top of all that let's get a little crazier, the 49ers beat the Commanders and the Chiefs beat the Seahawks and the Lions move into a playoff spot with two weeks left in the season.