MIKE O'HARA

O'HARA'S FINAL THOUGHTS: Revis-Johnson might be the most interesting man-to-man matchup of the week

Posted Nov 24, 2013

Based on Johnson’s one catch for 13 yards vs. Revis in 2010, will he be closer to one catch or 13 catches today?

Final thoughts awaiting kickoff of the Lions-Bucs game at Ford Field Sunday:

The word is out that Bucs cornerback Darrelle Revis will cover Calvin Johnson wherever he lines up throughout the game.

Revis-Johnson might be the NFL’s most interesting man-to-man matchup of the week. The national focus is on quarterbacks Tom Brady and Peyton Manning in the Patriots—Broncos game, but they won’t compete directly against each other.

The only time Revis and Megatron went head-to-head was in 2010, when Revis was still with the Jets. Johnson was targeted four times and had one catch, for 13 yards. The Jets won, 23-20, in overtime.

When he spoke to the media during the week, Johnson didn’t concede a victory to Revis, but he left no doubt that Revis won the stats battle.

"There were some opportunities there," Johnson said. "We just weren’t able to take advantage of them. That’s about it. It was a good matchup – both on my side and on his side.

"We both had some wins, but obviously statistically – you know."

Revis did not directly claim victory in his conference-call interview with the Detroit media, but when asked point black if he won, Revis replied: "One catch for 13 yards – what do you think?"

Proposition question: Based on Johnson’s one catch for 13 yards vs. Revis in 2010, will he be closer to one catch or 13 catches today?

Help for offense, defense: Three Lions are coming off the injured list at a key point in the playoff race.

Wide receiver Nate Burleson and defensive end Ziggy Ansah were starters when they went down with injuries, and Bill Bentley was the nickel back. Their value was noticeable by their absence.

Burleson had 19 catches in the first three games when he went out with a broken left arm sustained in a car accident. Although Matthew Stafford continued to pile up passing yards, Burleson’s reliability was missed.

The Lions have gotten almost no outside pass rush since Ansah went out with an ankle injury in the victory over Dallas. He provides power with speed on the edge.

Bentley also went out against Dallas with a knee injury. Without Bentley, backup safety Don Carey has been forced to play the nickel position. He doesn’t have Bentley’s quickness.

The "next man up" theory sounds good, but teams can’t expect to be as good when backups replace starters.

"There’s nothing like having the guys that you put out there as starters," Lions Coach Jim Schwartz said. "It’s easy to say next man up, but there’s a reason that the other guys were ahead of them."

Century mark: The Lions haven’t given up a 100-yard rushing game this year, but that string will be tested by the Bucs. They’ve run the ball well despite injuries that forced them to use reserve help.

Doug Martin had a 144-yard game in Game 2. He’s out for the season with a labrum injury. Mike James ran for 158 yards in a Game 8 overtime loss at Seattle. He’s out for the season with a broken ankle. Next man up: Bobby Rainey, with 163 yards in last week’s win over Atlanta.

Bound to happen: Because of last week’s failed fake field-goal attempt by the Lions, fans will yell "fake" the first time either team attempts a field goal.

It’s like yelling "get in the hole" on a tee shot on a 555-yard Par 5 on the PGA Tour.