The Detroit Lions play this week on national television against the Kansas City Chiefs in London. This game has all the makings of a toss up game. Detroit fired three offensive coaches and will either come out flat or come out ready to go. Kansas City lost Jamaal Charles and will either be good or flat against Detroit running the ball. There is no in between. The question becomes, which team wants it more.
- Detroit Lions Offensive Line vs. Kansas City Chiefs Defensive Line – This match up is not as much about the Lions offensive line against the Chiefs defensive line. It is more about the Lions offensive line against the Chief’s defensive pressure. With the Chiefs running a 3-4, expect a lot of linebacker pressure much like the Broncos did to the Lions. I expect this to be a bad match for the Lions. Tamba Hali and Justin Houston are two excellent rush linebackers and the Lions offensive line is a mess. It gets worse with LaAdrian Waddle questionable. Edge Chiefs
- Detroit Lions Tight Ends vs. Kansas City Chiefs Linebackers – Eric Ebron and Brandon Pettigrew are healthy finally. With the coaching changes, Pettigrew will likely be used more for blocking and Ebron will likely be used to take coverage off Calvin Johnson. The Chiefs linebackers are a seasoned group though and with Derrick Johnson leading the group, it is hard to imagine the Lions winning this. Edge Chiefs
- Detroit Lions Wide Receivers vs. Kansas City Chiefs Secondary – With the way the Lions receivers have played all season, it is hard to see them getting an edge here. When you factor that the offensive coordinator has changed, you have to wonder how many more chances will be taken than what would have been under Lombardi. Johnson and Golden Tate need to get it going and both want to. Can Jim Bob Cooter take the Lions offense back to where it was under Scott Linehan? Eric Berry is a talent for sure. The rest of the secondary can be beat and the Lions receivers look to do just that this week. Edge Lions
- Detroit Lions Running Backs vs. Kansas City Chiefs Run Defense – The Lions run game is a mess. The changes this week should help the run game, but by how much. The last two weeks the run game has been better than the rest of the season, but the Lions gave up on it and went to the pass which was ineffective. While I do not see this being the week the run game rebounds, there are reasons to think it will happen this season. Edge Chiefs
- Detroit Lions Quarterbacks vs. Kansas City Chiefs Pass Defense – Matthew Stafford has played really well the last two weeks. His passer rating is high, his mistakes are low, and if he is not on his back, he is moving the ball. The Chiefs defense is not at the same level as the Vikings defense and there is little reason to believe the Lions will struggle as much this week as in weeks past. The pass rush is the big concern as the Chiefs have the potential to destroy Stafford if they get there. Edge Lions
- Detroit Lions Defensive Line vs. Kansas City Chiefs Offensive Line – The Detroit Lions defensive line is as healthy as they are going to get going into this game. With the exception of Tyrunn Walker who is on IR, the defensive line will be completely healthy and ready to go. Ezekiel Ansah is a beast and Haloti Ngata is a solid defensive tackle. Caraun Reid is getting better each week and could have a good game this week. The Chiefs offensive line is not a strong unit. I do not see this as a game where the Lions get 7 sacks but it is also not a game that they are completely stalemated in. Edge Lions
- Detroit Lions Linebackers vs. Kansas City Chiefs Tight Ends – Travis Kelce is a fantastic tight end. The Lions coaches and players have raved about him. Without DeAndre Levy, this is a scary match up. Josh Bynes is a good backup but he is no Levy. Edge Chiefs
- Detroit Lions Secondary vs. Kansas City Chiefs Wide Receivers – Detroit’s secondary is terrible. Rahsean Mathis is showing his age as is James Ihedigbo. Jeremy Maclin torched the Lions a few years ago while with Philadelphia. He does not have the same receiver duo he had when he was with the Eagles though. With how little Alex Smith has gotten touchdowns to his wide receivers, the Lions look to have a very slight edge here. Edge Lions
- Detroit Lions Run Defense vs. Kansas City Chiefs Running Backs – If Jamaal Charles was healthy, this would be a clear Chiefs win. Without him, I think the Lions shut down the run like they did against Seattle backup Thomas Rawls. Edge Lions
- Detroit Lions Pass Defense vs. Kansas City Chiefs Quarterbacks – Alex Smith is a very low grade starting quarterback. He fits the west coast offense that Andy Reid plays, but he is not very good. Without Maclin and Kelce, this offense would be lucky to score points this week. Maclin by himself has enough talent to make up for Smith’s weaknesses. While the Lions pass defense is not up to par, they are also not playing Peyton Manning, Russell Wilson, or Phillip Rivers this week. Edge None
- Detroit Lions Special Teams vs. Kansas City Chiefs Special Teams – Knile Davis is a decent returner, but so is Golden Tate. With both teams having good kickers, punters, and returners, no one gets the edge here. Edge None
Lions 5 Chiefs 4
In a surprising twist, the Lions actually have a slight edge here. While I always go with the team that has the edge, its hard to see the Lions winning this week. They did win in London last week, and they have been there all week versus the Chiefs that just got there Thursday. I have to imagine that the Chiefs will come out flat to start the game due to that, and the Lions offense will finish strong for the first time this season due to new offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter’s passion.
Detroit 28 Kansas City 19