Five things to watch: Lions vs. Dolphins

Detroit News

If the season ended after last week, the Detroit Lions would have the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. It certainly wouldn’t hurt to have that to look forward to, but many fans were hoping for some sort of progress this season.

To be fair, there’s still 11 games left this season, so there’s still plenty of time to make some progress. This is a team that went 3-3 down the stretch last season, after all. Even winning six games this year would be an improvement.

If the Lions are going to make anything out of the 2022 season, stealing a win this week against the Dolphins would be a good start. Here are five things to watch ahead of this week’s matchup.

Can the offense get back on track?

Heading into week 5, the Lions had the top scoring offense in the league. Even after getting shut out by the Patriots, it still ranked third in the league in scoring. But now it has scored just six points in its last two games. It could just be regression to the mean, but we’ve seen what this offense is capable of. The Lions hope both D’Andre Swift and Amon-Ra St. Brown will return from injury this week. That would be a huge boost. Another issue has been the play of Jared Goff. He was near the top of the league in many stats the first four games of the season. Now, he has turned the ball over six times in his last two games, including four times in the second half against Dallas alone. When he plays well, the Lions offense puts up points. When he doesn’t, the offense sputters.

Can the defense build off last week’s much better performance?

Last week, the worst defense in the NFL didn’t really live up to that title, as the Cowboys struggled to move the ball for most of the game. It got a consistent pass rush on Dak Prescott. It even forced a turnover toward the end of the first half. It looked much improved. This week will be a very good test to see whether that was a fluke or a sign of things to come. Tua Tagovailoa is back for his second game since he suffered that scary concussion a few weeks back. The Dolphins offense also features two of the more electrifying wideouts in the league in Tyreek Hill and the underrated Jaylen Waddle. This week’s game will be quite telling for the defense.

Can Jeff Okudah build off his best game as a pro?

Jeff Okudah was flying all over the field last Sunday. He had 15 total tackles, most of them in the run game. The former No. 3 overall pick finally played like one against the Cowboys. Now the question is, can he keep it up? He had already had a nice season up to this point, but last week was awfully impressive. He genulinely looked like the best player on the field on several occasions. For the Lions defense to reach its potential, Okudah will need to keep up this level of play.

Can Aidan Hutchinson keep improving?

No. 2 overall pick Aidan Hutchinson has not been nearly as bad as some people have made him out to be this season. He leads all rookies with 19 total QB pressures to go with four and a half sacks. Last week was the first week the Lions had him in a two-point stance, which is largely what made him have a breakout season last year at Michigan. As a result, we started to see him win more at the line of scrimmage. Aaron Glenn said this week that he’d like to see Hutchinson finish the job more on his pass rushes. With 11 games left double-digit sacks is far from being out of the question.

Winning a game

The Lions need to do something that’s always been quite difficult during the franchise’s history, and that’s win a game. They’ve lost four in a row after a 1-1 start, and one could argue that they should have won at least two of those games. There’s once again a lot of negativity surrounding the organization. Both Dan Campbell and Brad Holmes have been taking heat from fans. The only way to stop that from happening is to win games. With two straight games against divisional opponents coming up, a win this week against Miami would provide a good jolt for a team that sorely needs it.

Articles You May Like

Jared Goff compares successes with Rams to Lions tenure
Lions expected to sign Michigan Panthers kicker Jake Bates
Report: Detroit Lions expected to sign UFL kicker Jake Bates
Detroit Lions Free Agency and NFL Draft Latest News & Rumors Livestream (June 11, 2024)
Patriots Made Two Roster Moves

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *