The Detroit Lions are off to a rough start this season. After blowing a big lead in San Diego, they looked pitiful against the Minnesota Vikings. This week they are finally home, but against a tough Denver Broncos team. While Peyton Manning and the Denver offense is not what it used to be, their defense is among the best in the league. Can Detroit pull the upset this week or will the Broncos be the next team to embarrass the Lions?
- Detroit Lions Offensive Line vs. Denver Broncos Defensive Line – This is a tricky match up to evaluate. While the Denver defensive line is not the concern, their pass rush is, led by all pro linebackers Von Miller and Demarcus Ware. The Lions are finally getting healthy on the offensive line, but they have played like a unit out of sorts. Expect another poor performance and Stafford to take more abuse. Edge Broncos
- Detroit Lions Tight Ends vs. Denver Broncos Linebackers – Eric Ebron has played well in two games, but without Brandon Pettigrew, the team is basically running with one tight end. Tim Wright did not do much last week, and I do not expect much from him this week. Denver’s linebackers are among the best in pass rushing, and their coverage is more than adequate. With three pro bowl defensive backs to give them confidence, expect the Denver linebackers to shut down Ebron and harrass Stafford. Edge Broncos
- Detroit Lions Wide Receivers vs. Denver Broncos Secondary – Detroit has Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate, yet they have one of the worst offenses in football. Denver’s secondary is one of the best in the league, which is bad news for a struggling passing game. Even though Johnson is a future hall of famer, it will not be enough of an edge without a quality third receiver. Edge Broncos
- Detroit Lions Running Backs vs. Denver Broncos Run Defense – Denver’s run defense has been bad. While they did play against a very good Chief’s team, They still looked rough. If Detroit sticks to the run and does not get itself into a hole early, the have a chance here. Edge Lions
- Detroit Lions Quarterbacks vs. Denver Broncos Pass Defense – This is no contest. Stafford has struggled time and time again against good pass defenses. I do not expect much of a change this week. Edge Broncos
- Detroit Lions Defensive Line vs. Denver Broncos Offensive Line – Denver added Evan Mathis to an already good offensive line. Detroit’s defensive line is not what it used to be. Haloti Ngata is not the replacement for Suh that the front office had hoped for, and Tyrunn Walker‘s pass rush is not where it needs to be for the line as a whole to succeed. Edge Denver
- Detroit Lions Linebackers vs. Denver Broncos Tight Ends – Owen Daniels has been around for a long time. The Broncos lost quite a bit when their star tight end Julius Thomas bolted in free agency. Still, with a veteran tight end against a patchwork linebacking corps, expect a solid game out of the Broncos. Edge None
- Detroit Lions Secondary vs. Denver Broncos Wide Receivers – Detroit’s secondary has been rough all season. While the Vikings did not jump all over them like the Chargers did, it is because they did not need to. The run game worked well. This week, Manning will read every coverage scheme and dissect them like the surgeon he is on offense. Emmanuel Sanders has been great and will continue his mastery against Rashean Mathis. Darius Slay will play Demaryius Thomas well, but it will not mater much in the end. Edge Broncos
- Detroit Lions Run Defense vs. Denver Broncos Running Backs – The Broncos rushing attack has been subpar all season. While the Lions surrendered big time yards against Adrian Peterson, I do not expect that to continue. Denver will run the ball better than usual, but I expect Detroit to figure the run game out and shut it down. Edge Lions
- Detroit Lions Pass Defense vs. Denver Broncos Quarterbacks – Peyton Manning, regardless of his remaining arm strength, or lack of, can still read a defense and pick a team apart. Detroit has allowed teams to get the short yardage against them since last season and now teams are exploiting it. The defense will tighten up, but Manning will get his 300 yards. Edge Lions
- Detroit Lions Special Teams vs. Denver Broncos Special Teams – The Detroit return team did not get it going last week, leaving me to wonder if they will this week. Denver’s return team is solid, but not spectacular. Given that both teams have good kickers and punters, its hard to see either team getting the edge here. Edge None
Lions 3 Broncos 6
This game is in prime time and in Detroit. The Lions will be jacked up for this one regardless of their record. The Broncos are no stranger to prime time games, having just played one last week. Will the Lions have enough? Not likely. Detroit will keep it close early, but in the end, Denver is just too good and will put the game away. Detroit falls to 0-3 this week.
Detroit 20 Denver 34