The Lions come into the game winless and needing a win to turn around what could quickly turn into a lost season. The Patriots come into the matchup with a 1-1 record, trying to avoid becoming the first Patriots team since 2012 to lose two of its first three games.
The Lions are led by first year head coach Matt Patricia, who was the Patriots’ defensive coordinator under Bill Belichick for six years from 2012 through 2017 before being hired by the Lions as their head coach. Patricia’s initiation into the ranks of NFL head coaches has been a rough one, with the Lions getting destroyed in every aspect of the game against the New York Jets to open the seaon, then dropping a nail biter against the San Francisco 49ers last week when a furious comeback fell just short. The Lions, as always, look to star quarterback Matt Stafford to make things go.
The Patriots come into the game looking more vulnerable than they have in a long time. 41 year old future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady and 66 year old future Hall of Fame head coach Bill Belichick may or may not have a rift growing between them. In any event, the Patriots appear to lack some of the offensive firepower of recent years, and Brady has been frustrated with teammates not doing their jobs. Wide receiver Julian Edelman’s four game suspension due to drug violations hasn’t helped, and the Patriots have turned to talented but troubled wide receiver Josh Gordon to try and jump start the offense.
The Patriots are dealing with a litany of injuries, with nine players on injured reserve, another four out for this game, and four more listed as questionable. With all the injuries and turmoil, the Patriots have begun the season with a highly uncharacteristic rash of turnovers, four in the first two games. It all makes for a Patriots team which could be more vulnerable than at any time in recent memory.
It’s mentor vs. protege, Patriots vs. Lions in an intriguing Sunday Night Football clash.
Enjoy the game everybody.