What the Lions have to do to win ...
By Jon Scott, Patriots Insider
The New England Patriots do a number of things very well while others are more of a hit-and-miss on any given Sunday. There are however three constants in how to beat them, and teams that exploit those areas have had success.
Run the Ball – If the Lions can find a way to get their ground game on track again, they will find that sticking with the run will yield success. It's important that they establish the run early, and are able to keep the score close enough so they don't have to abandon the run. Last week the Bears were able to rack up over 150 yards on the ground, against a Patriots team that was send in the league against the run. With Junior Seau out, the weakness on the Patriots defense may be right up the middle.
Go Deep – the Lions have talent in the receiving group and that has typically spelled trouble for New England's banged-up secondary. If Detroit needs a big play, then sending Roy Williams deep, or using a variety of middle to deep middle passes will get yardage in a hurry. Although Rex Grossman was intercepted three times last week, he still managed to get the ball deep on occasion. The Broncos, Jets and Colts were all able to find holes in the Patriots secondary.
Special Teams – The Patriots have given up an excessive amount of yardage in the return game. Teams with solid kick return units can put the offense in good field position and find a way to manufacture points. The Patriots did a much better job last week, but they still give up big plays against good return games. On the other side of the ball, Kevin Faulk has had a much-improved return average per punt return this year putting New England at No. 6 with 10.8 avg. If the Lions can contain Faulk it will give their defense a better chance of keeping the Patriots off the board.
What the Patriots have to do to win ...
By Nate Caminata, Roar Report Publisher
Numbering the ways to beat the Detroit Lions is like counting the ornaments on a Christmas tree: they're obvious, glaring, often times ugly and seemingly endless. At this point in the season, however, the Patriots have something to play for and the Lions do not. It is a recipe for disaster if New England takes a still-talented Lions' squad lightly. Below are three ways that the Pats can ensure a victory and avoid a humiliating loss.
Show up - Figuratively and probably literally as well. As mentioned earlier, Lions' players are entering the contest with no motivation other than job retention -- and sometimes that's the strongest motivator of all. Although they aren't necessarily going to play with reckless abandon, Rod Marinelli's team will leave it all out on the field. If New England is able to play its game and take an early lead, the Lions will crumble and the game will be over by the third quarter.
Stop Kevin Jones - It isn't a coincidence that Jones' only 100-plus yard rushing performances have resulted in Detroit's only two wins of the year. As pass-oriented as offensive coordinator Mike Martz's offense is, it does rely heavily upon the presence of a running game. Although the Patriots obviously missed LB Junior Seau in allowing the Bears' ground game to run rampant last Sunday, they'll be facing a still hobbled Jones, who missed the Thanksgiving Day contest with a slight ankle sprain and remains less than 100 percent.
Pressure Kitna - Jon Kitna has had a penchant for turning the ball over this season, especially when he's been pressured. Miami feasted on Kitna eight times on Thanksgiving Day, taking advantage of a second-rate offensive line and rendering any semblance of a Lions' passing attack moot. If New England can reach Kitna early and often, Detroit's ability to move the ball will be crippled and it might also result in a few turnovers.