After walking away from an impressive victory at Ford Field following the Lions’ 31-23 victory over the NFC North rival Packers.

With the much-needed victory before heading into the bye week, the Detroit Lions should be fairly healthy heading into their matchup against the Miami Dolphins.

As of right now the Lions will be without running back Theo Riddick and defensive end Ezekiel Ansah but may be fortunate enough to have T.J. Lang and Michael Roberts off the injury report.

The Lions have looked like a solid team heading into the bye week regardless of their 2-3 record under head coach Matt Patricia. Will the Lions be able to defeat the 4-2 Dolphins on the road?

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, the Lions will need a big game from running back Kerryon Johnson. The Lions have made it a notable mission this season to generate a rather successful running game to help power the offense to a new level. Johnson has been able to do just that during his rookie season with 286 rushing yards on 50 carries. Johnson has flashed his athletic ability early this season and showed Lions fans a glimpse of hope after recording 100-yards against the New England Patriots.

Defensively, a rather big game will be in store for rookie defensive lineman Da’Shawn Hand. Hand has been a viable rotation asset throughout the Lions defensive line early this season. Against the Packers, Hand recorded four tackles, one sack, one tackle for loss, one quarterback hit and a fumble recovery. His ability to apply pressure and stop the run has been an impressive piece for the Lions early this season. His ability to quickly shed blocks and reach for opposing players whether it be a running back or quarterback to make a play in the backfield has been impressive.

The dark horse against the Dolphins should be quarterback Matthew Stafford. Stafford threw for just 183 yards against the Packers while completing 14-of-26 passes during the matchup. Stafford has never been held to under 200 yards in consecutive games. With a receiver like Golden Tate, who is arguably one of the best, if not the best receiver in regards to yards after the catch. The Lions also have receivers Marvin Jones and Kenny Golladay as two major downfield threats. Stafford has the ability to connect with receivers in tight positions with quick and accurate passes throughout his career. While Stafford does have one of the strongest arms in the NFL, has not yet been very consistent within that aspect of the game.

Miami Dolphins:

Miami Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard (25) intercepts a pass intended for Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (88) and returns it for a touchdown in the second quarter at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida on December 3, 2017. (Allen Eyestone / The Palam Beach Post)

Offensively, veteran running back Frank Gore could be a difference maker against the Lions. Gore is coming off of a 101-yard performance against the Bears and while the Lions have been a strong team against the pass, they have failed to address the run, giving up 145.8 yards a game and allowing 5.3 yards per carry so far this season. Gore has proven himself around the league as a member of the San Francisco 49ers and Indianapolis Colts prior to signing with the Dolphins. The strong build and fast feet allow him to push for extra yardage on important plays. Gore currently has 303 yards this season but has not yet recorded a rushing touchdown this season.

Defensively, veteran linebacker Kiko Alonso could be a key piece against the Lions offense. Alonso has record 61 tackles this season with two interceptions. However, throughout his career, Alonso has been a solid member within the Dolphins defense making a lot of key plays whether it would be forcing turnovers or making big tackles. His versatility allows Alonso to rush the passer due to his exceptional speed while also been a solid player in coverage situations. His experience in the league allows him to correctly diagnose offenses and routes to make big plays and stopping them from gaining major yards.

The dark horse for the Dolphins against Detroit could be receiver Albert Wilson. Wilson claims to be the best yards after catch receiver in the NFL. However, a lot of fans would argue that would be awarded to Lions receiver Golden Tate. But, this portion of the article focuses on Wilson, who this season has over 300 yards after the catch, which leads the NFL. Formerly a member of the Kansas City Chiefs, Wilson has proven himself to be backup quarterback Brock Osweiler’s No. 1 receiver heading into the Lions matchup. Wilson has 359 yards currently on the season after gaining 155 yards against the Bears. Will the Lions secondary/linebacking core be too much for Wilson to handle?

Prediction: Lions 35 – Dolphins 24

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