GAME OVERVIEW ::
BY Mike Johnson >>
- This game features two of the top 10 offenses in the NFL and has the highest over/under on the Week 10 slate.
- Detroit enters this game off its Week 9 bye, potentially getting healthier and looking to finish the second half of the season strong and win their division for the first time since 1993.
- The Lions offense may be welcoming back running back David Montgomery after a multi-week absence, during which Jahmyr Gibbs broke out and displayed his elite playmaking ability.
- The Chargers are playing on a short week after their dismantling of Zach Wilson and the Jets on Monday night.
- It is rare for the NFL to schedule games in this way, with one team (LAC) playing on short rest after a Monday night game and Detroit having extra rest from its bye week.
How detroit Will Try To Win ::
Detroit enters this game with the second-best record in the NFC and fresh off its Week 9 bye. They also have their backfield at full strength, as Montgomery is set to return and Gibbs had consecutive big games in his absence. Detroit’s offense leans heavily on its running backs, leading the league in running back opportunity share in 2022 and continuing that trend this year. Detroit’s offense has been elite this season, ranking in the top 6 in the NFL in both running and passing offense DVOA. Offensive coordinator Ben Johnson has continued to show why he will be a highly sought-after head coaching candidate after the season, as his scheme gets the ball to his best players while keeping defenses on their heels. Detroit ranks 22nd in the NFL in Pass Rate Over Expectation (PROE) yet has been one of the more explosive and efficient units in the league so far this year. The Lions offensive line has been elite this year, ranking third in PFF pass blocking grade and second in PFF run blocking grade. Quarterback Jared Goff has been very sensitive to pressure throughout his career, and the elite play up front has undoubtedly played a huge role in unlocking what may be the most impressive play of his career so far this season.
As for Detroit’s approach to this game, the Chargers defense has been inconsistent this year despite having many big names in its ranks. Los Angeles has looked solid defensively the last two weeks against the Bears and Jets, but the Lions should feel confident about their ability to move the ball and score points in this matchup. The Chargers scheme is zone-heavy in coverage and does not get a ton of pressure in most matchups. They rank 15th in PFF pass rush grade and 22nd in QB pressure rate this season. As noted earlier, Detroit’s elite offensive line should hold up much better than Chicago and New York were able to. The Chargers’ zone-heavy scheme also gives up a lot of big plays and production, especially to higher-end offenses. Lions star wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown is especially dominant against zone coverage, ranking eighth in PFF receiving grade against zone. Ironically, standout rookie tight end Sam LaPorta has also been terrific against zone coverage and ranks eighth among starting tight ends in PFF receiving grade. Putting things together, Goff is best when he is kept upright and ARSB is most effective against zone defense – both factors should be at play this week.
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A large portion of Detroit’s offense flows through its running backs as well, and the dynamic duo of Montgomery and Gibbs should move the ball well in this matchup. Detroit is unlikely to significantly alter its play-calling splits – which lean slightly more run-heavy than the average NFL offense – in this matchup. However, this is a team that can be highly explosive in both the running game and passing game. They have strong matchups in both areas and should be expected to move the ball very well in this matchup. The majority of Detroit’s offense will flow through its running backs, ARSB, and LaPorta, with most of the passing game focused on intermediate areas of the field and attacking weak spots in zones. Detroit will likely take some calculated downfield shots as well, and we should trust Johnson to do so at the most opportune times.