Analysts and coaches alike say "we are what our record says we are." Well, in the case of the Detroit Lions, I'm telling you that's not true.
Their current record: two wins and five losses.
However, that doesn't factor in the fact that QB Matt Stafford played in last week's game, but only one half of football in the six games previous. Or the fact that they endured a tough first half schedule, and played four of their first six games on the road. Furthermore, let's not forget they were competitive in every game this season: all of their losses sans one were by eight points or less.
Detroit is one of my two teams to look out for in the second half of the season that I think will make some noise. They have a favorable schedule and many home games remaining and they're getting healthy again.
The Lions have arguably the best wide receiver in football. At 6'5", Calvin Johnson, aka "Megatron," presents matchup problems for any secondary. He will be matched up against CB Darrelle Revis for the majority of the game. They have a quarterback in Stafford who's not afraid to take chances down the field, and has many similarities to QB Aaron Rodgers. They spread it around well, as TE Brandon Pettigrew and TE Tony Scheffler have combined for 61 catches this season.
Furthermore, they have the perfect counter to the Jets' blitz: RB Jahvid Best. Best is actually second in the team in receptions, and as John alluded to earlier in the week, they'll look to counter the Jets' blitz via screen passes and misdirections.
On defense, they do a great job of getting pressure on the quarterback from everywhere on their defensive line. They've recorded 23 sacks thus far this year, and Vanden Bosch, Avril and Suh are all forces to be reckoned with.
QB Mark Sanchez must get the ball out of his hands quickly and he must make smart decisions with the football. Sanchez must also look downfield for a big play to make the Lions pay when they do blitz.
The Jets may be the more talented team, but they're coming off one of their worst offensive outputs of the decade. They need to get back in sync on offense and return to their pre-bye week form.
I'd like to see the Jets go simple and return to what works: "ground and pound." Cotchery received 13 targets last week, which was more than Edwards and Holmes were targeted combined. Something's gotta give there.
I have heard a lot of Jets fans saying this will be an easy win for the Jets, and I'm saying it won't be. These are not the Lions of 2009-10. This is a young, talented team that will contend in years to come, which is capable of an upset every week and the Jets must not take them lightly. I envision a close game on Sunday.