Lions-Browns Key Matchups: Ground Games Will Decide Contest

Nick Chubb

Getty Nick Chubb running for the Browns in 2021.

The Detroit Lions head back on the road this week looking to do better than the tie they achieved in Week 10, and the next challenger is the Cleveland Browns, who will provide a big test on the road in spite of their struggles lately.

Detroit nearly pulled an upset last week, so they will provide a major challenge this week even in spite of their poor record. On paper, this game is another mismatch, but as the Lions have proven multiple times this season, games aren’t played on paper.

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What matchups will determine this week’s game? Here’s a look at what the Lions will have to remember most of all this week.

Nick Chubb vs. Lions’ Defensive Line

Chubb was activated a few days ago and looks like a lock to play, which means the Lions will be a lock to face one of the best runners in the league again. In Week 10, the Lions managed to hold up well against Najee Harris, only allowing him 105 yards but no touchdowns. Detroit’s defensive line has been gouged in previous weeks, and in Week 8, gave up 230 yards to Philadelphia. With this in mind, it will be important for the Lions to try and control Chubb as best as possible. Detroit’s defense cannot be asked to fight fires on two fronts, with a solid passing attack as well. They will have to step up in the trenches and slow Chubb first this week.

Lions’ Running Backs vs. Browns’ Defensive Line

Similarly to Cleveland, the Lions are going to try to impact the game on the ground most of all, and a week removed from rushing 229 yards and 2 touchdowns, Detroit is likely to try and lean on the impact of a solid running back group to try and pull off the win. D’Andre Swift was impressive with 130 rushing yards last week, and the Lions also got 56 yards and 1 touchdown out of Godwin Igwebuike. It will be easy to expect Swift and Igwebuike to impact the game again this week, along with the returning Jamaal Williams. Cleveland has been solid against the run with a top five unit, only allowing 94.7 yards per-game and 10 total touchdowns this year to opposing rushing groups. With this in mind, Detroit is up for a huge challenge this week in repeating their game plan.

Myles Garrett vs. Lions’ Offensive Line

Garrett is arguably the most dangerous pass rusher in the league with 13 sacks on the season, and Detroit’s offensive line could be feeling the pinch again if Taylor Decker cannot go with injury. With the problems the Lions have had at quarterback, Garrett is in a good situation to make life miserable on Detroit this week with another big performance. Cleveland as a whole has multiple players who are dangerous, as Jadeveon Clowney and Malik McDowell have 3 sacks each in a supporting role for a team with 29 sacks on the season. The Lions will have to make sure they don’t let this group get going, and it will be tough duty all things considered given some of their recent limitations.

Detroit’s Quarterback vs. Browns’ Secondary

The Lions are likely to be facing life without Jared Goff this week, and if that is indeed the case, Tim Boyle is likely to be the quarterback. It will be the first time this season the Lions have had a new quarterback, which is interesting news given some of the struggles at the position. If it’s Boyle, the Lions will have to try and push the ball down field more than they have at times early on in 2021. Cleveland has only 5 interceptions this year, but the Lions’ passing offense has been anemic. Whomever plays quarterback will need to push the ball down field and try to take some shots to the end zone in order for the Lions to have any chance at a win this week.

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