The Lions enter Week 2 riding high after a Week 1 big win at home against the Arizona Cardinals. The Lions look to get some revenge as they visit the New York Giants (0-1) on Monday Night Football. The Giants beat an injured Lions team 17-6 last year in New York in Week 15. This is a big NFC matchup and could set the tone early for both teams.
Giants Pass Rush
The Lions protected Stafford well in Week 1 (1 sack with inconsistent pressure) but have another tough test in Week 2. Olivier Vernon and Jason Pierre Paul bring a consistent talented pass rush. Backup Greg Robinson and right tackle Rick Wagner will be highly tested on Monday night.
Damon Harrison is a good run stopper but not much of pass rush. Jay Bromley and Dalvin Tomlinson (rookie Round 2 pick) are young DTs but haven’t been proven interior pass rushers. Detroit must pass protect well for a second straight week and win the tackle/DE matchups to give Stafford time to find his weapons. Tomlinson had a good Week 1 against the Dallas offensive line so the Lions interior blocking must be alert for the rookie.
Cooter and the Lions will continue to use plenty of short throws too and the Lions running backs, Tate in the slot and Ebron must beat the LBs underneath. BJ Goodson had a good Week 1 at Mike but Kennard and Jonathan Casillas struggled at OLB. Keenan Robinson is dealing with a concussion and Goodson is questionable. Detroit should win these underneath matchups. Watch out for Landon Collins sneaking into the box from the strong safety spot.
Lions Passing Game
Stafford was excellent in Week 1 with a 113 QB rating. He rebounded from an early pick 6 with 4 TDs and 70% completion. Stafford had great pocket presence and will need that again with the Giants pass rush.
Rookie Kenny Golladay had a good first game with 2 TDs and 69 yards. Golden Tate had 107 yards but has a finger injury to monitor too. Marvin Jones did fine with a TD but Patrick Peterson is a very good CB. Marvin will have another tough matchup with Janoris Jenkins this week. Dominique Rodgers Cromartie and Eli Apple have lots of talent too; so Golladay and Tate will have to bring their A game. Jenkins is questionable with an ankle injury which would help Marvin Jones get open. As mentioned earlier, it might come down to beating the Giants LBs at underneath routes and getting YAC. Free safety Darius Thompson is beatable as well deep.
Lions Run Game
Detroit ran a good amount but not very well in Week 1. Ameer Abdullah returned but had few holes to work. Glasgow, Swanson and Robinson all struggled in run blocking. Arizona had a good run defense and the Giants allow the same 3.6 YPC from 2016.
New York will be tough to run on and the Lions need to figure out how to be more efficient and effective with running the ball. We will see if Abdullah’s speed can exploit the Giants Linebackers if Abdullah can get consistent holes. Harrison should wreak havoc as he does in run defense often for the Giants.
Giants Passing Attack
Eli Manning struggled in Week1 and the Giants desperately need Odell Beckham. Beckham playing or not is a huge key to this game as it changes the Giants offense capabilities. Beckham practiced on a limited basis on Thursday and Friday. Slay will follow Beckham and hopefully stay healthy unlike in Week 15 last year. Slay can limit Beckham enough would be big for Detroit. If Beckham is not 100 percent, this will obviously help Slay in the matchup.
Quandre Diggs had a great game the first week at nickel and he will get Sterling Shephard in the slot. Diggs must bring another good performance. Lawson and DJ Hayden split time and both struggled in Week 1. They have a tough matchup with Brandon Marshall and must perform much better than the opening game.
Rookie Evan Engram showed some skill and will be a matchup for the Lions linebackers and safeties. Tahir Whitehead did well but rookie Jarrad Davis really struggled in coverage. Davis must beat his fellow rookie in Engram to limit the Giants tight ends. Shane Vereen is a pass catching threat out of the backfield too for New York.
Giants Run Game
New York has struggled and continued to struggle in Week 1 running the ball. Paul Perkins is the main back but Vereen and Orleans Darkwa get some carries. The Lions shut down David Johnson so should continue that strong run defense in Week 2. Robinson, Ngata, Ansah and Washington should win their matchups. Jarrad Davis and Tahir Whitehead were good in their run gaps and shedding blocks.
Lions Pass Rush
Detroit got consistent pressure on Carson Palmer but only had one sack. Detroit must continue to get pressure and finish more sacks with Ansah, Washington, Zettel and company. Eli is not very mobile which helps the Lions.
The Giants have tackle problems with Ereck Flowers and Bobby Hart. Hart is dealing with an ankle injury as well. Richburg, Justin Pugh and John Jerry can be average but Robinson/Ngata/Spence and Ledbetter should get some push on the interior.
Detroit should get consistent pressure and 3 or more sacks in this game.
The Lions beat the Cardinals with the aid of 4 turnovers. If the Lions can continue to force 2 turnovers or more in games, they can win a lot of ball games. Eli is turnover prone and the Lions can win that matchup.
Detroit had major punting and kick return problems in Week 1. Jeff Locke is the new Lions punter due to injuries (Martin NFI and Redfern IR) and will do better than Redfern/Prater.
Dwayne Washington better not return any more kicks deep out of the end zone again. Jamaal Agnew showed good flashes on punt returns and can be a weapon with his speed. Prater is money as a kicker (made a 58 yarder) and should make big kicks on Monday Night.
Nobody predicted the Lions to win this game before the season. After Week 1 with a Lions win and Giants bad loss, the Lions have a good chance with how they showed improvement. OBJ suiting up is a big swing factor. However, OBJ won’t be 100 percent which helps Detroit. The Lions pull off a shocker and win on the road on Monday Night Football with good defense and more clutch Stafford play in the fourth quarter.
Lions 24 Giants 17