Detroit has a tough test ahead vs. Cincinnati.
The win at FirstEnergy Stadium was an important one for Detroit to gain some confidence on the road. The Lions secured the victory when Browns’ quarterback Brandon Weeden tossed the game winning reception an interesting pass (to say the least) to Lions’ linebacker DeAndre Levy.
Coming home to Ford Field, Detroit will play well, but cannot expect such a bailout from the Cincinnati Bengals.
Going into last Sunday against Buffalo, the Bengals had not allowed a 300-yard passer in 19 straight games. Their stingy defense ballooned that streak to 20, allowing Bills’ QB Thad Lewis a net total of 216 yards.
Motown’s bread and butter on offense is its passing game—there are various weapons Matthew Stafford has to keep that streak from swelling to 21 games.
With that said, here are five predictions for the Bengals-Lions matchup Sunday.
Megatron wasn't much more than a decoy vs. the Browns.
In last Sunday’s victory against the Browns, Calvin Johnson had a minuscule three catches for 25 yards and no touchdowns.
In that game, Megatron was still nursing a knee injury that kept him out against Green Bay in the Lions’ Week 5 loss. However, Johnson cannot be pedestrian Sunday against the Bengals.
Matthew Stafford will need his wideout to be more than a decoy when he is out on the field.
Megatron will not disappoint.
Johnson will pull down seven catches for 115 yards and a TD against Cincinnati at Ford Field. He will shake off the lingering effects of his knee injury and assist Stafford in stopping Cincinnati’s hot streak against QBs.
Fauria is becoming a red-zone threat.
It’s about time the rookie tight end got more tick on the field.
After not seeing much action against Green Bay and Chicago, the tight end had a breakout game against Cleveland. Through six games, Joseph Fauria has just nine targets—but what he’s done with those looks were vital for the Lions.
Short passes in the red zone have been his specialty, and against a team that doesn’t give up many yards through the air, a threat like this can squander any hopes that Cincinnati’s red-zone defense has to stop Detroit.
Fauria proves his worth in this contest with four catches for 58 yards and two TDs.
Stafford has played well through the first six games.
Usually this wouldn’t be a big deal for the Lions’ quarterback.
But since the Bengals have such a stifling pass defense, this may be more of a challenge Sunday—especially considering Stafford has only thrown for 300-plus yards twice this season.
Why not make a statement this game?
Detroit’s O-line has been good to Stafford this year—No. 9 has thrown just four picks and has went down nine times, most of which came against Green Bay.
If the QBs pass-catchers can have solid outings, Stafford can break the 300-yard mark.
No. 9 goes for 322 yards and three touchdowns against Cincinnati's defense.
Detroit's run defense has given up several big plays.
The Bengals are rushing for a little more than 110 yards per game.
Doesn’t look too good for the Lions.
But every dog has its day.
The Lions constantly give up big plays to opposing runners, which is part of the reason why their run defense seems non-existent. However, Sunday is when the Lions do not allow that game-changing rush to their opposition.
Cincinnati’s running backs will trouble the Lions, but not for more than 100 yards. Detroit will give up 97 total yards on the ground to the Bengals.
Dalton has been brought to the turf numerous times this year.
Bengals’ quarterback Andy Dalton has eaten more grass than a lawnmower in 2013—Dalton has hit the turf 14 times in six games.
Seems almost certain the Lions will get their fair share of sacks.
Not so fast.
The past two weeks, Detroit’s defense has only brought down opposing QBs three times.
With an O-line that has struggled to protect Dalton this year, Detroit will get after Cincinnati’s quarterback and take him down.
The Lions will have five sacks against the Bengals Sunday. Week 7 is the week to get back on track in the sack department—especially against a shaky O-line.
Detroit has to be aggressive and continuously put pressure on Dalton to ensure that he does not make a big play.