When looking at the Lions defense two things become abundantly clear. 1) The unit can be very good 2) When it isn’t very good it’s easy to run against them.
The Lions have limited three teams – the Eagles, Titans, and Rams – to under 100 yards rushing. The Lions are 2-1 in those games, two of which ended in overtime. The margin of victory is a grand total of 10 points in those three games combined. Yet the lions (3-4) have had difficulty beating teams when they can’t limit the running game.
Four teams – The 49ers, Vikings, Bears, and Seahawks – have all run for 125+ yards against the Lions. Detroit went 1-3 in those games. While the Lions allowed more yards on the ground, the overall total yardage declined as teams turned to the run rather than the pass to beat the Lions. With a serious lack of explosive plays the Jaguars will be forced to rely on the legs of Rashad Jennings to get the job done against this defense.
Jennings isn’t Maurice Jones-Drew, but he is a capable back. His 103 yards over the past two games don’t show it, but Jennings has the ability to break games open when he gets going. Against the Lions he could have a real shot at that. The Lions are allowing over 100 yards per game on the ground and don’t really have any rhyme or reason to who they let dominate their front four. Whether it’s limiting Chris Johnson or allowing Marshawn Lynch to explode, this defense is streaky. Fresh off allowing 304 yards on the ground over the past two games the Lions are ripe for another dominant performance from a running back.
Of course much of this is largely reliant on good blocking from the Jaguars. Without good blocking they could end up with the same troubles that the Eagles had. The Jags don’t have the same offensive firepower to produce without a running game like the Eagles though. This alone will force more onto Jennings.
Can Jennings deliver?
That may very well be the question of the day as the Jags host the Lions.
– Luke N. sims
You can also find me on Twitter @LukeNSims