Detroit Lions' Week 2 Projections: Analyzing the Impact of Detroit's Big 3

Kyle GibbonsAnalyst IIISeptember 16, 2011

Detroit Lions' Week 2 Projections: Analyzing the Impact of Detroit's Big 3

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    A Week 1 opening-day victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was vastly significant to the growth and structure of the Detroit Lions.

    Detroit’s young gun, Matthew Stafford, further solidified himself as the organization's franchise quarterback after throwing for over 300 yards and three touchdowns. Stafford dissected the Buccaneers' defense, utilizing the tools that made him the No. 1 overall selection in 2009.

    Detroit’s 2010 first round selection, Jahvid Best, also played very well. In the Week 1 affair versus the Buccaneers, Best showed the ability to pound and wear down the interior of Tampa Bay’s young but talented defensive line. Best was heavily employed in the Detroit offense, touching the ball 25 times for a net of 114 yards.

    The effectiveness of Detroit’s rushing attack forced Tampa Bay’s secondary to be honest, providing Matthew Stafford the opportunity to look downfield.

    And when Matthew Stafford has time to look down field he usually finds one guy: Calvin Johnson. Tampa Bay’s "shutdown" cornerback Aqib Talib was completely ineffective in stopping Johnson. Stafford targeted his big play receiver 10 times and Johnson returned the favor by hauling in six receptions for 88 yards and two scores.

    So what can we expect from Detroit’s “Big 3” against the Kansas City Chiefs in this weekend's regular season contest at Ford Field?

    In one word?

    Fireworks.

    

Matthew Stafford: Quarterback

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    Passing Attempts: 36

    Passing Completions: 29

    Passing Percentage: 80.5

    Passing Yards: 361

    Passing Touchdowns: 3

    Passing Interceptions: 0

    I anticipate the momentum Stafford developed in Week 1 to carry Detroit’s passing game all the way through their Week 9 bye.

    Stafford looked sharp in connecting on a little over 70% of his passes against the Buccaneers.

    I look for Stafford to dominate the Kansas City Chiefs defense this weekend in front of an already sold out Ford Field crowd.

Jahvid Best: Runningback

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    Rushing Attempts: 23

    Rushing Yards: 96

    Rushing Touchdowns: 1

    Receptions: 5

    Receiving Yards: 81

    Receiving Touchdowns: 1

    If healthy, you can expect Best to be heavily utilized throughout the 2011 season.

    And Lions' offensive coordinator Scott Linehan will go to Jahvid Best early and often this Sunday.

    His ability to contribute on the ground and through the air make the second year running back an indispensable part of the Detroit Lions' offense.

    I project Best to approach the century mark in terms of rushing yards, but I anticipate him to make a greater impact in Detroit's passing game against a reeling Kansas City defense.

    The turf at Ford Field should permit Best to break a screen pass wide open.

Calvin Johnson: Wide Receiver

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    Targets: 10

    Red Zone Targets: 4 of 10

    Receptions: 6

    Receiving Yards: 102

    Receiving Touchdowns: 1

    At only 5’9, and 187 pounds Kansas City cornerback Brandon Flowers is no match for “Megatron” and, without help over the top from Pro Bowl safety Eric Berry, he could be in for a long day.

    Eric Berry’s season ending injury sustained in Week 1 will have a significant impact in Kansas City’s ability to stop a Stafford lead passing attack.

    While I look for Johnson to play through the ankle injury that has forced him to miss practice time this week, you can be sure that Lions' head coach Jim Schwartz won’t hesitate to sit his star receiver if Detroit builds an early lead.

    I anticipate that Kansas City will play Detroit close, forcing Detroit’s greatest weapon to remain on the field.

    Though I look for Johnson to see at least nine targets, I anticipate Nate Burleson will be Detroit’s best weapon at receiver in Week 2.