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5 things to watch: Lions at Bills

The Lions will look to make it two wins in row and keep their playoff hopes alive later today as they take on the Bills in Buffalo.

Here are five things to look out for in today's matchup:


Bills quarterback Josh Allen has shown a real knack this season for picking up yards with his legs. He's a big, strong player with deceptive speed. He leads the Bills with 490 rushing yards and five touchdowns on the year. Buffalo will have some designed runs for him, but he also looks to escape the pocket often and pick up yards on his own. It's something the Lions have been very aware of all week in preparation.

The Lions have been very good against mobile quarterbacks all season. They've allowed just 62 rushing yards in 13 games to quarterbacks. They'll be tested again this week by Allen.


Buffalo's defense ranks No. 1 overall and is also the best in the NFL against the pass. Their rushing defense ranks top 10 in the league as well.

But one big weakness for that unit this season has been in the red zone. Buffalo ranks 27th in the NFL in red zone defense, allowing a touchdown an amazing 71.4 percent of the time.

Detroit's red-zone offense has been one of its weakest points all year long. Detroit's scoring a touchdown just 48.8 percent of the time, which ranks 27th.

Who plays better in the red zone today?


Where's the snow? This is Buffalo, right? It's mid-December and the Lions and Bills will play a game in Buffalo that's expected to be near 40 degrees with no precipitation.

In year's past, Buffalo has hired fans to dig their stadium out from the snow around this time of year. Buffalo's an outdoor team so they're certainly used to the snow and cold. The Lions have practiced outside in the snow in previous weeks to prepare for the possibility of cold and snow, but it looks like they'll have to wait a couple weeks until they travel to Lambeau Field on Dec. 30.

View photos from Detroit Lions practice on Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018.


The Lions have been playing good defensive football over the last month. They've ranked eighth in total defense and fourth against the run over the last four games.

It begins upfront with Damon Harrison and co. and extends back to Jarrad Davis and the linebackers and Darius Slay and the secondary.

The Cardinals last week were ranked 32nd in total offense, 32nd in scoring, 32nd in passing and 31st in rushing. Detroit won 17-3.

Buffalo ranks 31st in total offense, 31st in scoring, 31st in passing, but they can run the football, thanks to Allen, and rank 9th in rushing. Still, it's not a great Bills offense overall. Can the Lions' defense feast on an inferior offense for a second straight week?


Quarterback Matthew Stafford threw for a career-low 101 yards last week in Arizona as he battled a back injury and the decimation of his skill weapons due to injury.

Things don't get any easier for the Lions today as the Bills employ the league's best pass defense (185.8). Buffalo will be looking to hold a sixth-straight opponent to under 170 yards passing.

Whether it's Kenny Golladay making a contested catch down the field or Theo Riddick breaking a long run after the catch, Stafford and the Lions' offense need someone to step up and make a play. If they can't, then Buffalo's defense will simply load up on the run game and make things really difficult for Detroit offensively.

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