As the teams get set to do battle, there will be plenty of interesting matchups to note that could determine the outcome of the AFC-NFC crossover game. They come on both sides of the ball and are equally as important to the game as anything else.
What contests will determine this game? Here’s a look at the most significant matchups of the week from the Lions perspective.
Kenny Golladay vs. Colts Defensive Backs
Golladay caught everything thrown his way when playing the Falcons, and is looking primed to have a huge second half of the season to lead the team into the playoff hunt. Safe to say if Indianapolis can’t stop Golladay from having another huge 100 yard game, it will be more bad news for the Colts. With this in mind, pressure is on the team’s dynamic duo of Kenny Moore and Xavier Rhodes finding a way to slow Golladay down. It’s easier said than done, so Golladay could be expected to be able to get his in the end. Still, if Golladay goes off, this will be a hard game for the Colts to win considering what he means to Detroit’s offense.
Lions Offensive Line vs. Colts Defensive Front
Detroit’s offensive line has been quietly good this season, but they face an active Colts’ pass rush which has 13 sacks so far this season. This team is led by Justin Houston (3.5 sacks) but also has several others like DeForest Buckner (2.5 sacks) and Denico Autry (2 sacks) to help out. Obviously, Detroit had a few breakdowns in protection against Atlanta which hurt the offense, so obviously it is on the line to hold together a little bit better for Week 8 to allow the Lions a chance at being more consistent on offense.
Romeo Okwara vs. Colts Offensive Line
If there’s been one dangerous pass rusher this season for the Lions, it’s Okwara, who came alive at the right time for Detroit last week. As a whole this season, Okwara has the most sacks of any Lions player (4) and he also thrives on creating pressure. With this in mind, it’s fair to say that Okwara figures to drive the bus for Detroit in terms of pass rush. If he’s good again, the Lions could have another big day on defense in order to help the team in a big game. Okwara hasn’t had much help, though, so if he doesn’t come alive, the Lions could be in a desperate spot once again.
Detroit’s Defensive Front vs. Jonathan Taylor
The Lions have been much better in recent weeks at finding a way to defend the run, but they will face a stiff test from Taylor, one of the best rookies in the league at running the ball not named D’Andre Swift. Taylor has 367 yards and 3 scores to his credit so far this season, meaning he has been a solid option to help move the chains for Indianapolis. Cutting off Taylor would mean putting pressure on Philip Rivers to beat you with his arm. He’s capable of doing it, but also capable of losing the game like the Lions know from last season. Tough run defense must carry over for the Lions this weekend.
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