Week 9: Detroit Lions At Jacksonville Jaguars
- QuarterbacksMatthew Stafford had huge numbers in the Lions’ 28-24 victory over the Seahawks as he completed 34-of-49 passes for 352 yards with 3 TDs and just 1 interception. Despite those numbers, it took a late rally at home to get the Lions a win over a feisty Seahawk team. Stafford has not impressed with his consistency this year.Blaine Gabbert has not been a positive for the Jaguars this season, but he had one of his better efforts in Jacksonville’s 24-15 loss to the Packers in Green Bay. Gabbert threw for 303 yards and was not intercepted even though he was under pressure from the Green Bay pass rush throughout the game.
- OffenseThe Lions have to be concerned with the play of Calvin Johnson who has only caught one touchdown pass this season and he has dropped passes that he used to catch with ease. The Lions have depth with tight ends Brandon Pettigrew and Tony Scheffler, but they need Johnson to assert himself once again. Running back Mikel Leshoure is talented but inconsistent.The Jaguars are really up against it from establishing any type of consistent offense if star running back Maurice Jones-Drew is unable to play. Jones-Drew was unable to play against the Packers because of a sprained foot and it does not seem likely that he will play against the Lions. Wide receiver Cecil Shorts continues to improve. He caught a career-best eight passes for 116 yards against Green Bay.
- DefenseThe Lions’ defense lacks consistency, but the unit can be quite nasty. When the Lions are getting strong defensive play, it’s because their aggressive front line puts pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh is powerful and vicious, and that’s an issue for Gabbert. Free safety Louis Delmas is a hard-hitting and dangerous defensive back.The Jaguars don’t have a lot of big names on the defensive end, but they do play hard. One of the most effective defensive players is linebacker Russell Allen, who had seven tackles against the Packers. Defensive end Andre Branch is a hard hitter who forced a fumble in the loss to the Packers.
- Special TeamsFew teams have been worse on special teams than the Lions. They give up big plays frequently and their own return teams struggle to catch the ball and don’t have many positive plays. Veteran placekicker Jason Hanson is quite dependable, but he is not known for his ability to kick long field goals consistently.The Jaguars are not an explosive team when it comes to special teams play, but they believe Josh Scobee can make key field goal attempts. He made all three of his field goal attempts in the Week Eight loss to the Packers. Punter Bryan Anger is just ordinary. He averaged 40.6 yards on five punts against Green Bay.
When it comes to offensive talent, the Lions would seem to have a major edge on the Jaguars. However, Detroit often makes mistakes and the Lions rarely play their best game on the road. The Jaguars don’t have a lot of opportunities to win games and this could be one of the games that they can rise up and steal.