New England at Detroit: What To Look For


Depending on coaching styles, starters may or may not see more playing time this weekend. Some quarterbacks will be behind center, in drives up until the middle of the third quarter, presumably based on the head coach’s discretion and ultimately their satisfaction with their assessments.

As players are getting weed-whacked off roster lists and personnel coaches are trimming down their depth charts, here’s what NFL Fankind needs to direct their focus on tonight in the Patriots/Lions matchup.

The Lions showed both aggressive and passive identities in their first two matches. Versus the Jets, Matt Stafford completed a lousy total of 3 passes (3/8) all to Calvin Johnson for 58 yards. That formula last season equaled a 4-12 answer. Detroit must diversify their play calling.

Ghana rookie Ezekiel ‘Ziggy’ Ansah picked off a Mark Sanchez pass and returned it for a defensive touchdown. Good for the rookie’s confidence. So-called ultra-threat Reggie Bush rushed for five yards on three carries against the Jets.

In the scrimmage against the Cleveland Browns, Bush didn’t impress. He rushed for 15 yards on eight attempts. CJ1.9K didn’t play, which is why Bush hauled in five passes for 44 yards. Again, the problem emerges: a running back shouldn’t be the leader in the Receivers stat column, even in a winning effort (they lost to the Browns). Detroit’s defense is showed problems of the past. It’s still early but when quarterbacks Brian Hoyer, Jason Campbell, Brandon Weeden, Mark Sanchez, Kellen Moore and Shaun Hill have easily solidified their candidacies on their respective depth charts, thanks to the Lions.

Opposing quarterbacks statline: 49/65 559 yards passing 5 TD, 1 INT, 8.6 Yards per Attempt, 75 percent accuracy

The Patriots sport one of the deepest pockets in their backfield. Behind Tom Brady, men named Stevan Ridley, Legarrette Blount, Brandon Bolden and Shane Vereen are all more than capable of carrying the load. Knowing Tim Tebow‘s skillset, they may consider him a running back (with an arm!), too.

If you’re rooting for Tebow to make the team, take notes on how he drops back and throws the ball as opposed to tucking it in and scrambling out of the pocket. The quarterback definitely gets too jittery at times and Coach Bill Belichick hates (I think) his QBs with insecurity issues. Remember, this is the final season of BB’s contract and it’s a fragile time in New England right now.

It’s Belichick-Mate for the Patriots if they miss the playoffs this season, and as far as we can tell, the AFC East crown is theirs to keep. No one today affiliates the Dolphins, Jets, and Bills with “teams on the rise,” so if the Pats can steady their boats through stormy weather, they’ll creep into the playoffs.

Go long, until next time.

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