Sunday Lions vs. Jets Primer: What to watch, key notes, and predictions

by Johnathon Gustin

Good morning everyone. Hopefully your Saturday College Football viewing was enjoyable enough but today is all about the professionals. For those in the state of Michigan, the game to watch is the Detroit Lions in the Big Apple to square off against Rex Ryan's vaunted Jets' defense at 1 pm on FOX. 

This year, a dramatic change has happened with the Lions' front seven now allowed to blitz which has propelled them into the top of almost every defensive category. Detroit leads the NFL in total yards allowed with just 733, and the NY Jets are right behind them with 805 yards. The Lions' are also second in points per game, allowing just 15.0 per contest so far with only Cincinnati's staunt 11.0 pts/game ahead of them. The Jets' on the other hand, looking strong statistically in yards allowed, has given up 24.0 pts/game which is tied with Atlanta, New Orleans, and Pittsburgh for 20th in the NFL. 

Switching to the other side of the ball, the Lions' biggest concern besides Matthew Stafford overthrowing receivers is the health of "Megatron" Calvin Johnson. The undisputed, best receiver in the National Football League missed both Wednesday and Thursday's practices with an ankle injury but per Adam Schefter of ESPN, Johnson will be listed as active against the Jets.

The best indicator for the Lions' to succeed today will be offensive balance between the run and passing game. In the wins over the Packers and the Giants, Detroit rushed 30/38 times and had 32/34 passing attempts as oppose to their loss against Carolina where Stafford had 48 passing attempts to only 18 rushes, even though the Panthers' have the 27th worst rushing defensive in the NFL (145.3 yds/game).

This game will be a defense oriented test of strengths' against two turnover prone quarterbacks. Which ever team can establish a run game will be in control and put less pressure on their maligned QB. Jets' Geno Smith has 4 interceptions and the Lions' Matthew Stafford has 3 interceptions on the season. 

Prediction: The Jets' D. will hold Stafford to a single touchdown (to WR Golden Tate) but Calvin Johnson will just be healthy enough to get one big yardage reception in order to get the Lions in the redzone. Joique Bell and Reggie Bush will team up to run for 100 yards/ 1 TD and there will be an Eric Ebron sighting with Fauria missing today's game. Geno Smith will look solid against the Lions' banged up secondary but Suh, Fairley, and Ansah will be too much for the Jets; second-year QB.  Lions' win 20-16, thanks to Detroit's new place kicker Alex Henry be able to convert standard NFL field goals. 

Other health notes for the Lions: TE Joseph Fauria is out after suffering an ankle injury in his home that was probably not Dance Dance Revolution related. Middle Linebacker Stephen Tulloch is out after suffering a season ending ACL tear during the win against the Green Bay Packers which may have an effect on the overall defensive output. Safety Don Carey is out with a hamstring injury but Safety James Ihedigbo is probable to start after missing the first three games with a neck injury.