The Lions are coming off another emotional loss, this one at the hands of the Packers who the Lions beat up on all night just to lose on a last second hail mary. The players and coaches say they have moved on, but their play Sunday will show if they have really moved on or if it is just talk. This team’s season is in a sense over as there would need to be complete chaos in order for them to make it as 8-8 into the playoffs. Sitting at 4-8, can the Lions finish strong and break even, or are they doomed to another losing season? This week they face a struggling Rams team who lost several key players for this week’s game. Add to that a change in coordinators and we have the makings of a tough game to call.
- Detroit Lions Offensive Line vs. St Louis Rams Defensive Line – Detroit’s offensive line will likely be without Michael Ola, who is questionable, and possibly Travis Swanson, who missed last week’s game after being questionable. The Rams defensive line is stout. They feature Chris Long, son of NFL legend Howie Long, Aaron Donald, who the Lions should have drafted but did not, Michael Brockers, and former Lion Nick Fairley. The Rams will be without defensive end Robert Quinn though which is a huge loss for them. Still, I expect this to be the deciding match up in this game. Stop the rush, win the game. Edge Rams
- Detroit Lions Tight Ends vs. St Louis Rams Linebackers – The Rams linebackers are a quality players but not game changers. They have James Lauranitis and Akeem Ayers as well as former safety Mark Barron. Barron will likely see a mixture of Eric Ebron and Theo Riddick. While Riddick is not a tight end, his role has become similar to one as the Lions like to match him up on a linebacker to get him open. Barron, being a former safety, is exactly the type of linebacker they need covering Riddick. Edge None
- Detroit Lions Wide Receivers vs. St Louis Rams Secondary – The Rams secondary has a tough task ahead of them this week. They face Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate without TJ McDonald or Janoris Jenkins in the lineup. McDonald is now on injured reserve and Jenkins is doubtful with a concussion. I expect the Lions to exploit the weak secondary this week as they did against the Eagles on Thanksgiving. Edge Lions
- Detroit Lions Running Backs vs. St Louis Rams Run Defense – Ameer Abdullah is getting better each week. While the Lions will not run well enough to get the edge here, it is not in any way related to the St Louis defense. Detroit is just not built to run for heavy yardage. Expect the Lions to eek out 100 yards as a team, and Abdullah to be around 50-60 of them. Edge None
- Detroit Lions Quarterbacks vs. St Louis Rams Pass Defense – Matthew Stafford has played excellent the last few weeks. If the pattern continues, the Lions new GM will have a very tough decision to make on the coaching staff. Jim Caldwell has not earned another year, but Jim Bob Cooter has shown quite a bit since taking over as offensive coordinator. Stafford, with protection, will shred this defensive secondary with ease. The question is, will he have enough time? Edge Lions
- Detroit Lions Defensive Line vs. St Louis Rams Offensive Line – The Rams offensive line has been very good in pass protection this season. The Lions defensive line is beat up, but somehow still generates pressure each week. I do not expect much pressure this week although Ziggy Ansah may still get a sack. Given the effectiveness of the Rams in pass protection, no advantage here for either team. Edge None
- Detroit Lions Linebackers vs. St Louis Rams Tight Ends – Jared Cook is not a bad tight end, and the Lions linebackers have been horrible at covering tight ends, which was showcased last Thursday night when Richard Rogers tore the Lions apart. Cook though has been a huge disappointment to a Rams fan base that would rather have Eric Ebron than Jared Cook. Edge None
- Detroit Lions Secondary vs. St Louis Rams Wide Receivers – The Lions secondary is hanging in there, and if Glover Quin is good to go this week they should be able to neutralize the Rams. Case Keenum gets the start over Nick Foles, and both have been terrible. Tavon Austin and Kenny Britt are the top two receivers and both are underwhelming. Expect Slay to take away Britt and leave Austin on Lawson this week due to height match ups. Edge Lions
- Detroit Lions Run Defense vs. St Louis Rams Running Backs – The Lions run defense has been excellent lately. They also have not faced an elite running back in a while. While it is too early to call Todd Gurley elite, he is an excellent rusher who is on a bit of a down turn. He could get loose and shred the Lions defense. The Lions could crush the Rams run offense just as easilly. I expect Gurley to excel. Edge Rams
- Detroit Lions Pass Defense vs. St Louis Rams Quarterbacks – Case Keenum against the Lions pass defense is a bit of a lopsided match up. Keenum is a back up quarterback at best. With Slay locking down receivers as of late, and Lawson playing a very sticky coverage, the only way the Rams do well passing is if the injury bug takes its toll. Edge Lions
- Detroit Lions Special Teams vs. St Louis Rams Special Teams – The special teams for both teams have the same ability to be explosive so neither team can have an actual edge. Edge None
Lions 4 Rams 2
The Lions have an opportunity to get back on track with a bad opponent. They can re-gain their confidence with a blowout win over the Rams or they could lose and completely fall apart. A close win, while still boosts confidence, may keep the Lions confidence in a fragile state for next week’s Monday Night Football. I predict a sizable Lions win this week, although if the Rams defensive line takes control of the Lions offensive line, the scales could tip in the other direction.
Detroit 31 St Louis 14