The Patriots go up against the 7-3 Detroit Lions on Sunday at 1:00 and while Detroit is coming off a loss to the Arizona Cardinals, they're still a tough match up for the Patriots. Here are the top 3 things you have to know about them.
1.) Their defense is legit: The Lions are ranked in the top 5 in both run defense (1st - 68.8 YPG) and pass defense (5th), so Tom Brady will have his hands full on Sunday. Luckily, the Patriots have a healthy Rob Gronkowski, which is a nightmare match up for even the best corner backs in the game. The Patriots also have Jonas Gray, who had a breakout game against the Colts on Sunday night, and recently re-acquired Lagarrette Blount, who should help boost the Patriots running game. The Patriots also have a number of secondary targets in the passing game, which should help the Pats confuse the Lions defense. The Lions defense should still provide a challenge for the Patriots offense, at least on paper. Their running game isn't:The Lions rushing attack ranks 31st in the league at 79.8 YPG, so the Patriots should have no trouble making the Lions one-dimensional like they did with the Colts. The problem for the Patriots will be in the passing game, where they'll have to deal with Calvin Johnson, one of the best receivers in the game but dealing with injury problems, and Golden Tate, who has picked up some of the slack in the passing game while Megatron is dealing with his injury issues. 3.) Calvin Johnson is not 100%: Megatron has had his injury problems this season, and it looks like those haven't slowed down as of right now. He recovered from his sprained ankle, but picked up an elbow injury against Arizona last Sunday according to the Fresno Bee. That's good news for the Pats, but Johnson will probably still be a tough cover for Darrelle Revis or Brandon Browner because he's the best wide receiver in the game, at least in my mind.
Stats from ESPN.com. Let me know what you think - leave a comment or let me know on Twitter (@C_Frederick1016).