Another week and another close game, this has been the story of the Detroit Lions season. After a sweep during their 3 game homestand, they hit the road against a team with just as many unanswered questions as they have.
1. Next Man Up
Looking at the schedule a few weeks ago this matchup was highly anticipated with Darius Slay battling against DeAndre Hopkins, but with Slay out with a hamstring injury, the Lions will need to execute a defensive plan to contain Houston’s wide receivers. Nevin Lawson and Johnson Bademosi will be on the front line. The will need to bracket not only Hopkins but contain speedster Will Fuller in order to slow down the dynamic duo. Slay’s injury will probably cause defensive calls to be pedestrian at best to avoid too many one-on-one matchups. One way this matchup can be downplayed is if the front 4 can get to Brock Osweiler without the help of blitzes. Look for a big play to help determine the game and continue to build confidence in the battered defensive backfield.
2. Run Forest Run
Theo Riddick is back in the rotation, but the Lions still need to be diverse in how they create a running game. Zach Zenner and Justin Forsett did a great job maintaining a semblance of a running game over the past few weeks. Golden Tate is also an integral piece of the running game. However, they need to they need to produce at least 125 running yards against the stout Texans defense in order to provide the balance they need to have continued success. Look for all of the backs to have a special play today, especially Zenner as he drops deep down the depth chart.
3. Little things mean a lot
There are multiple opportunities throughout the game that help to determine the result due to coaching decisions. Some in the Lions fan base feel Jim Caldwell has made some costly calls or no calls. This season his decisions have not hurt the team, but there hasn’t been clear-cut decision that led to a victory. Either way, he has the focus of his players and they are responding to his motivation tactics. He has shown a tendency to be consistent, but at the same time has gone for it on 4th down quite a few times. Most people don’t feel it’s intentional, but keeping your opponent guessing is a huge part of competition. Look for Caldwell to step out of character and roll the dice at least three times in order to get the victory.