The Jags break out the new black jerseys yet again as the Detroit Lions come to town in the final matchup against the NFC North for the Jaguars. The Lions have been streaky at times this season but always have the talent to put games far out of reach. Besides observing a game that should pit a strong(er) defense against a highly potent offense there are some guys to pay attention to as well.
1. Rashad Jennings, RB, Jacksonville - Jennings needs to get going for the Jaguars to have any hope semblance of balance against the Lions. The Jaguars don’t have the same firepower as other teams who have outplayed the Lions through the air so they must rely on the running game to help them stay in it. It all starts with Jennings who could have a big game against the Lions defense or they could step up and limit him like they have three times this year.
2. Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit - Megatron hasn’t had the biggest game the past two weeks. His six catches over that time period bely the true potential and very real threat that Johnson is. It is speculated that he could have a 100 yard game against a depleted Jaguars secondary. Right now there is no reason contradict the speculation. Johnson could very easily control this entire game. His play, always superb, is a pleasure to watch.
3. Titus Young, WR, Detroit - In keeping with the dominance of the passing game it is difficult to overlook second-year man Titus Young. Young has stepped up big when needed by the Lions. When Johnson has been less of a factor, Young knows how to take advantage and still be effective. Young had 100 yards last week against the Seahawks and has 181 in the past two games. He has very rapidly become a major receiving danger.
4. Austen Lane, DE, Jacksonville - Lane has rejuvenated a lifeless pass rush since his return from injury. He may not have the flashiest numbers (one sack, 15 tackles in 4 games) but his high-motor play has made this defense step up their game. What Lane does on Sunday will dictate how well Matt Stafford can pass. If Lane can help create consistent pressure then it could become a long day for the Lions. The Jaguars like what Lane brings to the table and he is due for a big game soon.
5. Mike Thomas, WR, Detroit - In an odd turn of events, Thomas will be returning to Jacksonville just days after they traded him to the Lions. While he may not be a game changer this week it will be nice to see if Thomas sees the field and what he does while on it against his former team. Thomas quit on the Jaguars and was underperforming his skill level this year and last before the trade. Maybe a change of scenery will do him some good.
– Luke N. Sims
You can also find me on Twitter @LukeNSims