Aug 10, 2018; Oakland, CA, USA; Detroit Lions head coach Matt Patricia looks on before the game against the Oakland Raiders at Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions take on the New England Patriots at Ford Field tonight on NBC’s Sunday Night Football.

The Lions are currently searching for their first win of the 2018 season after losing to the New York Jets during Week 1 and then faced a tough loss on the road against the San Francisco 49ers.

During Week 1, the Lions lost to the Jets 48-17 on Monday night. The Lions seemed to have warmed up slightly in the second quarter and into the beginning of the third but that suddenly faded after a brutal loss.

Week 2, on the other hand, the Lions looked a lot calmer and focused against the 49ers. Stafford took the helm in the fourth quarter. The team was trailing 13-30 as Stafford completed two touchdown drives and with under three minutes remaining in the game, the Lions were poised for a comeback. However, after a near pick-six for the Lions that would have given them a four-point lead, the ball was given back to the 49ers after a defensive holding penalty.

The New England Patriots are currently 1-1 as they defeated the Houston Texans 27-20 and then lost to the Jacksonville Jaguars 31-20 last week.

Detroit Lions:

Aug 24, 2018; Tampa, FL, USA; Detroit Lions running back Kerryon Johnson (33) runs the ball during the second half against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Offensively, Matthew Stafford will have to take advantage of the Patriots secondary with injuries to Patrick Chung and Eric Rowe. Stafford posses the ideal size and build to be a proven durable quarterback and for the Lions. Stafford arguably has the strongest arm within the league and has an extreme amount of confidence making long throws down the sideline. Although the accuracy seems to have declined a little bit, Stafford still continues to make big plays when needed.

Defensively, Devon Kennard could be a difference maker in tonight’s matchup. The Lions currently lead the league with sacks from the linebacker position. Kennard is an excellent tackler and has proven his ability to drop into short coverage situations. He possesses good instincts and always makes the smart play.

Tonight’s dark horse could very much be Lions wide receiver, Kenny Golladay. Golladay is a tall receiver with the arm length to make big plays on the field. He’s proven to become a bigger factor within the Lions offense and could look to add to it a bit more in the near future. Enjoys stepping into routes with purpose while closing gaps and gaining an edge over cornerbacks. Excellent hands and will play physical when making plays.

New England Patriots:

Sep 16, 2018; Jacksonville, FL, USA; New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) looks on prior to the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Offensively, the New England Patriots will have to protect quarterback Tom Brady if they want to make a difference this game. Brady has one of the quickest release times in the league. With the Patriots, Brady has seen a majority of his completions come from within varying slant routes. Brady has excellent field recognition and often leads receivers to make plays.

Defensively, the Patriots will need Stephon Gilmore to step up with injuries to the secondary. Gilmore has shown off a lot of intriguing skills including his impressive footwork for a man of his size. His huge frame allows him to basically mirror receivers early on in their routes. Gilmore has proven his ability in coverage as well.

Tonight’s dark horse could very well be rookie running back Sony Michel. Michel was a decisive runner in college and rarely saw himself get tackled behind the line. Possesses excellent vision and often displays his lateral quickness when looking for an efficient gap. Excellent burst speed and has proven acceleration which allows him to create havoc in the secondary. Michel is also excelled in blocking situations as he understands how to square up to protect the quarterback if needed.

Prediction: Lions 31 – Patriots 27

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