4 Detroit Lions Who Must Step Up This Week
The Detroit Lions are no longer undefeated, and that is just fine.
Nobody thought this team was going 16-0, anyway.
So, with a loss under their belt and the dust settling from the scuffle between Jim Schwartz and Jim Harbaugh, the Lions can move on and focus on their opponent this week: the Atlanta Falcons.
The Falcons have alternated wins and losses all season and at this point are coming off a 31-17 win over the Carolina Panthers.
Assuming the Falcons will not accept defeat because of their current pattern means the Lions will have a tough game on their hands.
Here are four players who must step up in order for the Lions to move to 6-1.
4. Stefan Logan
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Where is the Stefan Logan of 2010—the guy who had 55 kick returns for 1,448 yards and a touchdown?
Detroit needs that player back immediately because the current special teams have been uninspired to say the least.
Yes, the kickoff rules have changed, but Logan has just six kick returns this year for 150 yards.
A 25-yard average isn't bad, but that breakaway run has not been seen this year.
Field position goes a long way in the NFL and Detroit needs any help it can get against Atlanta.
3. Jeff Backus
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Jeff Backus, you are like a puzzle that I can never seem to solve.
Some weeks you are shutting down DeMarcus Ware, and others you are made to look like a pylon by Jared Allen or anyone in a San Francisco 49ers uniform.
Backus needs to bring his best game against the Falcons.
It will be great if the Lions get their running game going, but if they don't it will be up to the passing game to shoulder the burden.
They have handled this task much of the season, and facing the 27th-ranked pass defense in the league is certainly not a scary proposition.
So, Backus better protect Matthew Stafford's blind side when he drops back to pass. If he doesn't, Detroit may become ineffective at both facets of the offensive game plan.
2. Maurice Morris
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Hey, did you hear that the Lions acquired running back Ronnie Brown at the trade deadline?
Well, the fact is he is not that important of a piece—this week.
Maurice Morris will get the majority of the carries. That is, of course, assuming the Lions stay dedicated to the running game.
If he can break some decent runs early, it will show offensive coordinator Scott Linehan that the ball does not need to be thrown 35 times in order to beat Atlanta.
This is no easy task—Atlanta has the eighth-best rush defense in the league, allowing only 98 yards on the ground per game.
Morris has only nine carries for 20 yards this season. With Jahvid Best likely out with a concussion, it is time for Morris to step up in a big way.
1. Ndamukong Suh
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Ndamukong Suh has been relatively quiet for three games.
He has not recorded a sack since Week 3 against the Minnesota Vikings. Sure, he is double teamed an awful lot, but Nick Fairley is healthy and ready to take some pressure off the big fella.
Suh had zero solo tackles against the 49ers. Zero!
The 49ers brought a talented running back to Ford Field in Frank Gore and the Falcons will do the same with Michael Turner.
Suh and his defensive teammates are currently allowing 129 yards per game rushing. That is 26th worst in the NFL.
The entire defensive line needs to play at a higher level against the Falcons, and Suh must lead the charge.