Game Overview ::
By hilow >>
- Amon-Ra St. Brown did not practice on Wednesday or Thursday while dealing with an abdomen injury.
- Jameson Williams makes his season debut after seeing his six-game suspension reduced to four games – his 4.39 speed and downfield acumen bring one of the missing pieces to this Lions offense.
- David Montgomery has played two games where he wasn’t injured during or missed entirely – in those games; he has seen 53 carries and two targets.
- Montgomery has also scored five touchdowns in what amounts to 2.5 games worth of offensive snaps.
- The rushing matchup for Detroit yields the week’s third-best net-adjusted line yards metric in one of the biggest mismatches of the week.
How carolina Will Try To Win ::
The Panthers rank near the middle of the pack in pace (19th-ranked 28.8 seconds per play) and pass rate over expectation (21st), averaging a robust 67.8 offensive plays per game, 24.0 rush attempts per game, and an extreme 40.3 pass attempts per game. A large reason for those gaudy pass numbers has been the routine negative game environments this team has found themselves in during the first four weeks of play, with their -35 point differential ranking eighth worst in the league. Head coach Frank Reich’s offense has also been fairly mundane, playing near league average rates of 11- and 12-personnel with route concepts that adhere to the standard route tree. In other words, we haven’t seen much in the way of forward-leaning principles in this offense up to this point in the season, which is likely a combination of the youth present and Reich’s largely conservative approach.
Miles Sanders has started all four games at running back for the Panthers despite being questionable heading into Week 4. His 67.0 percent opportunity share ranks 15th in the league, but his paltry 2.9 true yards per carry ranks 55th, and the Panthers have struggled mightily in run-blocking metrics. And that isn’t even a product of teams stacking the box against Carolina as Sanders averages just 6.3 defenders in the box on his carries this season, which is one of the lowest stacked box rates in the league (he has seen a light front at the eighth highest rate this year). In other words, the Carolina offensive line can’t block well in the run game, and Sanders’ low juke rate (41st) and minuscule breakaway run rate (38th-ranked 1.8 percent) are not providing enough on his own. Chuba Hubbard has played a “change of pace plus” role for the Panthers this season, with 116 total snaps checking in amongst the league leaders for “backup” running backs. The matchup on the ground is about as gross as they come, with Detroit ranking second in yards allowed per carry this year.
Things don’t get much rosier through the air. Rookie quarterback Bryce Young holds the lowest completed air yards per completion in the league this season at 2.9 yards, indicating an offense that has struggled to both attack downfield and find success in efficiency when they do pass. His 6.4 IAY/PA ranks 30th, he is tied for eighth most sacks taken, and he has been pressured at the eighth highest rate this year. Those individual metrics now make sense when taken in context with the team dynamics. Veterans Adam Thielen and D.J. Chark operate as the near-every-down pass-catchers for this offense, with Terrace Marshall and Laviska Shenault combining for the remainder of the wide receiver snaps. The team utilizes a messy three-headed timeshare at tight end with near league-average 12-personnel rates, typically leaving no more than 60 percent of the offensive snaps to any one of Hayden Hurst, Tommy Tremble, and Ian Thomas.