This is valid, considering that the Lions' run defense is 27th in the league, allowing an average of 130.4 YPG. Even more worrisome is the opponents per carry average of 4.9, tied for 29th.
Both of these averages are skewed by the fact the Lions have allowed an NFL-leading three rushes of 40-plus yards. This points to weak play by the linebackers and secondary.
This is why DeAndre Levy and Amari Spievey must come through in a big way for the Lions.
Levy has missed considerable time this year, first with a groin injury and then with an ankle injury. He has managed to play in only two games so far, against the Minnesota Vikings and Washington Redskins. It has now become obvious he should not have tried to play against the Vikings, as he was largely ineffective. His groin severely limited him, and he ended up suffering an ankle injury as well.
Levy came back with a much more impressive game against the Redskins. He helped limit Washington running back Ryan Torain to 10 yards on nine carries. Torain was coming off a very impressive outing against the Chicago Bears. He managed 125 yards against a Bears defense that is fifth in the NFL against the run.
Spievey is replacing the injured C.C. Brown. As a rookie Spievey has lived up to his reputation in college as a player who likes to deliver big hits.
Brown was the player who should have tackled Adrian Peterson of the Vikings on the longest run allowed by the Lions so far this year. He was in position to tackle Peterson for a modest gain but inexplicably took himself out of the play by positioning himself behind a wall of defensive linemen. Instead of a three or four-yard gain, Peterson had an 80-yard touchdown.
If Levy and Spievey can help limit LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene, that will force the Jets to rely on Mark Sanchez's arm. This was the case last week against the Packers, and Sanchez could not deliver, as he is not a good downfield passer. The Lions are surely going to try to copy the Packers' successful game plan this week.