Sam LaPorta poised for a big bounce-back game against the Broncos

USA Today

Lions rookie tight end Sam LaPorta is probably happy the Chicago Bears aren’t on Detroit’s schedule anymore in 2023. LaPorta is likely just as happy to see the Denver Broncos coming to Ford Field in Week 15.

In a record-setting rookie campaign for a tight end, LaPorta had his two worst games in Detroit’s matchups with the Bears. Week 14 saw LaPorta catch just two passes for 23 yards, while in the first meeting back in Week 11, he snagged three catches for 18 yards. Those combined games against Chicago total less than what his season average is for one game:

Sam LaPorta Catches Yards
Overall avg. 5.1 66
Vs. Bears (2 game total) 5 41

LaPorta has a much more favorable matchup against the Broncos in Ford Field this Saturday. Denver ranks near the bottom in every defensive metric against opposing tight ends. Some of the grisly details of Denver’s defense when facing tight ends as targets (courtesy SIS):

  • Catch rate allowed: 75.5 percent (7th-worst)
  • Yards per catch allowed: 11.3 (5th-worst)
  • Receptions allowed: 80 (3rd-worst)
  • Fantasy football points allowed: 204.4 (2nd-worst)

For the season, LaPorta ranks fourth amongst all tight ends in receptions (66) and receiving yards (702) and is tied for the league lead with six touchdowns. LaPorta also has made the most contested catches (11) and has the 7th-highest average target depth (7.6 yards). LaPorta is also third in the league at broken tackles (8) by a tight end.

It shapes up to be a very favorable matchup for LaPorta in Week 15. It might not match his sensational Week 13 game against New Orleans (9 receptions, 140 yards), but look for a lot more than his paltry games against Chicago.

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