Archive for the ‘NFL’ Category

Six Hidden Match Ups between the Detroit Lions and Miami Dolphins

Sunday, November 9th, 2014

dolphin

By Kent Lee Platte

With Calvin Johnson sidelined, few had high hopes for the Detroit Lions, who had long suffered whenever their best players were ff the field. To the surprise of everyone, most notably the Saints and Falcons, the Lions lumbered on to a 3-0 record without the future hall of famer.  The #1 defense and free agent addition Golden Tate at wide receiver carried the team to a 6-2 record at the midpoint of the season. Time enough for a Bye to regain health and rest. They won’t have an easy day for their first game back, as they go up against a hot Miami Dolphins team coming off a blowout victory against the Chargers. This was an exciting game to plan for, as there are so many strong match ups on both sides of the ball. Even so there are plenty of hidden stories to look forward to in this key game.

Tahir Whitehead vs. Ryan Tannehill

In the past few seasons,  the Lions had little to fear from scrambling quarterbacks due to the presence of an athletic, smart middle linebacker in Stephen Tulloch. Tulloch left the season early, however, with a torn ACL, leaving those duties to a far more athletic but far rawer Tahir Whitehead. He has been sharing duties with Josh Bynes, but I find it hard to think the team will match up Bynes, who has strong instincts but poor speed, against Tannehill. Instead, it’s likely Whitehead who will draw this tough assignment, which will stretch his development to the limits. Can Whitehead show he’s developed to more than just a fill in role and really own that middle linebacker spot?

Golden Tate vs. Cortland Finnegan

A starting wide receiver, especially one presently rated in the top five, is rarely considered a hidden match up. In Tate’s case, he’s back to playing second fiddle to Calvin Johnson in the elite receivers return to the field. With as much as Tate has shown, it’s interesting to me to see him back in the number two role. It’s even more interesting to see him matched up with a player like Finmegan, who is known for his on field antics. Tate is a fiery competitor, and despite being one of the worst cornerbacks in football as a Ram, Finnegan has only been mediocre instead of terrible as a Dolphin.  It won’t be long before this one gets chippy.

Kyle Van Noy vs. The Road Back

I have written before about how the Detroit Lions are asking a LOT out of their rookie linebacker. He has been injured, so we haven’t been able to see if he has grown at all, but I doubt the team suddenly expects less of him. Van Noy was doing it all in camp, dropping into coverage, rushing from the edge, cutting gaps, just everything.  He showed how difficult the transition was with his preseason struggles, but we’ll finally get to see some regular season action. Van Noy has modeled his play (and his beard) after DeAndre Levy, who continues to play at an all pro level.  Will the rookie shine early, or will the struggle continue?

The Quarterbacks vs. The Schemes

It should come as a surprise to no one that Matthew Stafford has struggled against good pass defenses. Ryan Tannehill is in the same boat, as he found far less success against weaker defenses than he did against strong ones. It seems pretty intuitive that it would be an issue, but I’m not talking about a small dropoff for either signal caller.  This will be, for both players, their toughest match up of the season. The only top tier pass defenses the two have faced are the Bills and the Packers. Both lost against the Bills, while Stafford was able to notch a win against the rival Packers. It’s a tough match up on both sides.

Joe Lombardi vs. Louis Delmas

It’s still strange to see Delmas in a different uniform. The former Western Michigan Bronco had spent his entire pro career with the Lions before moving to the Dolphins in free agency this past offseason. Delmas has been a solid acquisition for the Dolphins, but some of his old tendencies are still present.  Joe Lombardi has not lived up to his namesake,  but I still hold out hope he can exploit a match up so obvious that even casual fans can see it. I would love to see some more creative routes on the inside of the field, drawing the safeties in so when the receiver changes direction we can see a safety slip sliding the wrong way. Delmas has been better coached in Miami than he ever was in Detroit, but he still makes some of those mistakes.  It’d be good for karma, anyway, it owes us some.

The Lions Defense vs. A Whole Lot of History

The Lions defense is presently ranked first in both yards per game and points per game. It’s the first time the team has ever had this distinction since becoming the Detroit Lions, with its last mention being the 1931 Portsmouth Spartans. Traditionally, the team has had their collapses and it has always started on the defensive side of the ball. The time is now for the team to give tradition the middle finger and really ram home how dominant they can be. Despite the sore loss of Nick Fairley, this is too good of an opportunity for a statement to be made. Not even necessarily a win,  though that would obviously be best. National outlets are already trying to find other defenses they think are the best, because it just can’t be the Lions, can it? This team needs to put their defense firmly on the map and mop the floor with Tannehill and co.


Six Hidden Match Ups between the Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons

Saturday, October 25th, 2014

Lions in london

Kent Lee Platte

A week later and many Detroit Lions fans still haven’t come down from the amazing comeback victory against the New Orleans Saints.  In the teams worst game statistically for the #1 ranked defense, many Lions fans actually left the game early while the home town team was down by two scores late in the 4th. Led by Matthew Stafford and Golden Tate, the team rallied and brought the game within one score. Glover Quin would then intercept Drew Brees and Stafford would lead a calculated drive ending in the first career TD for receiver Corey Fuller.  The defense held and the Lions won by a single point. This week, the team travels to London to face another NFCS team, the Atlanta Falcons. There are plenty of under the radar match ups to look forward to, and we’ll once again dig deep and find them. (more…)


Six Hidden Match ups between the Detroit Lions and New Orleans Saints

Sunday, October 19th, 2014

saints

By Kent Lee Platte

Despite an identical record to this point last season, the feelings of déjà vu aren’t really there for the Detroit Lions in 2014.  Instead of building a 4-2 record on the back of their offense, with their defense trailing along, the team has their record almost entirely due to their number one ranked defense and it would be even more impressive if the team had a solid kicker to start the season.  Way back in 2011, the Lions lost their only playoff game under this new regime against Drew Brees and the Saints.  Head coach Jim Caldwell, then with the Colts, famously lost to the Saints in the Super Bowl in 2010.  You’ve heard the bigger storylines for the game, but how about the under the radar match ups that will happen on the field? (more…)


Six Hidden Match Ups between the Detroit Lions and Buffalo Bills

Sunday, October 5th, 2014

jim-schwartz-detroit-lions1

By Kent Lee Platte

Sitting alone atop the NFCN is new ground for the Detroit Lions.  Their only loss has come against a playoff contender and two of their three wins were against super bowl winning quarterbacks that the Lions ultimately shut down. It has been 52 years since the Detroit Lions defense was the best in the league, and yet here it is as the top defense in yards allowed, 2nd in passing yards allowed, and actually top 5 in every meaningful category.  With the Packers seemingly finding their offensive groove, it’s imperative that the Lions maintain their lead in the North. They’ll be attempting to do so against an old friend in the Jim Schwartz-led Buffalo Bills defense.  There are plenty of storylines, but here are some flying below the radar. (more…)


Lions vs. Bills: A Buffalo Perspective

Saturday, October 4th, 2014
Detroit-Lions-vs-Buffalo-Bills

Logo from gamblerspalace.com

For this week’s guest, I called upon Ryan Talbot, the Editor-in-Chief of BillsMafia.com. He’s been writing about the Buffalo Bills for a few years and has been a fan of the team for his entire life. He lives in the WNY area and is an educator by day. He can be found on Twitter @RyanTalbotBills.
What does the quarterback change from E.J. Manuel to Kyle Orton mean in the short term? How does it impact the offense against Detroit?
Short term, it hopefully means that Buffalo’s wide open receivers get passes that they can catch. If EJ Manuel was somewhat consistent, the Bills would absolutely be 3-1 right now, and possibly 4-0. Manuel faced a lot of pressure against the Texans last week, but even when he had time to pass many of his throws were too low, too high, behind the receiver or thrown to someone in the wrong uniform. Manuel needs some time on the sidelines and I think this change will benefit him.
Against Detroit, the Bills game plan should be rather simple. Rely on the run and pass when you need to. That being said, Detroit has been outstanding defensively, so running may not work. If you need someone to pass the ball 30-40 times, I prefer Orton over Manuel. Orton will certainly make his fair share of mistakes, but he’s also not gun shy. He’ll try to make passes that Manuel would pass over every time for his check down option. This week’s match-up is going to be difficult for the Bills.

(more…)


Lions vs. Jets: A New York Perspective on #DETvsNYJ

Friday, September 26th, 2014
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Logo courtesy metlifestadium.com

Jeff Risdon

To preview this week’s matchup in New York, I called upon Jeff Lloyd to provide a Jets perspective. Jeff is the host of the RSE Network radio show on Monday nights, a show on which I am a regular. He also writes for The Draft Report. In addition, Jeff is one of the most interactive personalities on Twitter, where you can follow him at @Jeff_LJ_Lloyd.  (more…)






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