Jaguars at Lions Game Preview

Our first preview of the Jaguars trip to take on the Detroit Lions. Jacksonville dropped their second straight game in embarrassing fashion as they lost to the formerly winless Bengals, while it was business as usual for the Lions, as they dropped a close one in Chicago, 27-23.

Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Detroit Lions
Sunday, November 9, 2008, 1pm EST
Ford Field, Detroit, MI

: Jacksonville 3-5, Detroit 0-8

Series history: Jaguars lead, 2-1. Last meeting Jaguars won 23-17 (OT) in Jacksonville in 2004.

Detroit offense 27th overall (21st passing, 31st rushing); Scoring- 28th – 17.1 ppg. vs. Jacksonville defense 23rd overall (21st passing, 20th rushing); Scoring- 14th- 21.5 ppg.

Detroit is a team in quite a quandary as they have questions on both sides of the ball. Sunday's likely starting quarterback could be Drew Stanton or even Daunte Culpepper, as Dan Orlovsky will likely be out with a sprained thumb. Stanton hasn't played in a real NFL game, and Culpepper was just signed this week.

Detroit will start either veteran Rudi Johnson at running back, or the very explosive rookie Kevin Smith who is averaging 4.4 yards per carry. One would assume that Smith would get the bulk of the carries being that he's more productive, but these are the Lions and logic does not apply.

Detroit recently traded away wide receiver Roy Williams, who was second on the team in receiving. The move to deal Williams was made possible thanks to the great play of 2007 first-round pick, Calvin Johnson. Johnson is a physical freak at 6'5", 240 lbs., with 4.3 speed. Johnson leads the team with 37 receptions for 682 yards, and six touchdowns.

Best offensive matchup for Detroit: Calvin Johnson vs. any Jacksonville corner- Johnson is one of the handful of best receivers in the game, and he can get open against anyone. The real question will be if any Detroit QB can get him the ball.

Best defensive matchup for Jacksonville: Daryl Smith vs. Detroit quarterback. Smith is due for a pretty big game and don't be surprised if he records an interception.

Jacksonville offense 23rd overall (20th passing, 17th rushing); Scoring- 24th 20.0 ppg. vs. Detroit defense 32nd overall (29th passing, 21st rushing); Scoring- 32nd – 29.9 ppg.

The Jaguars have struggled running the ball of late and Detroit can't seem to stop the run. This is a perfect time for the Jaguars to once against re-establish their identity as a run-first team.

Rod Marinelli's Lions defense is statistically the worst in the league. They have been able to get some pass rush with ends Dwayne White and Jared DeVries, as they've combined for eight sacks. Defensive tackles Cory Redding and Chuck Darby haven't done much to stop opposing rushers, and the only reason they are ranked 21st against the run is because it's so easy to pass against them.

Ernie Sims is the Lions best linebacker, but hopes are high for reserves Jordan Dizon and former Buccaneer Ryan Nece. Cornerbacks Travis Fisher and Brian Kelley will have their hands full with the Jaguars receivers, and safeties Daniel Bullocks and Dwight Smith have been average at best. Leigh Bodden is the nickel corner.

Best offensive matchup for Jacksonville: Jaguars offensive line vs. Detroit defensive line. If the Jaguars can't get the run going this week they may never.

Best defensive matchup for Detroit: Linebacker Ernie Sims vs. David Garrard- Simms is a very good linebacker and if Garrard isn't aware of him at all times, it could equal a big play for the Lions defense.

Special Teams

Detroit: PK Jason Hanson, P Nick Harris, LS Don Muhlbach, PR Shawn McDonald, KOR Mike Furrey

Jacksonville: PK Josh Scobee, P Adam Podlesh, LS Joe Zelenka, KOR Brian Witherspoon, PR Brian Witherspoon

Special teams advantage: The Jaguars have a better coverage unit, and the more dangerous return men. Special teams seems to tilt in the Jaguars favor.

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