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5 things to watch: Lions at Chargers

The Detroit Lions hit the road for their only west coast trip of the season to take on the Chargers in Los Angeles at SoFi Stadium.

The Lions are the healthiest they've been since Week 1 coming out of their bye week and are looking to improve to 7-2 on the season and keep pace with the one-loss Philadelphia Eagles for the top seed in the NFC.

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


Left tackle Taylor Decker and right tackle Penei Sewell have been terrific for the Lions this season. Decker has been credited by Pro Football Focus with allowing just two sacks and two quarterback hits in six games and Sewell hasn't allowed a sack. He's allowed just one quarterback hit in eight games.

Both will have challenging matchups today against veteran edge rushers Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack, who have combined for 15.5 sacks to pace a Chargers' pass rush that has the second most sacks in the NFL (31) heading into Week 10. The Lions trust both Decker and Sewell to play on an island and win their one-on-one matchups which allows the offense to be versatile and put more pass catchers down the field to create mismatches.


Offensive coordinator Ben Johnson and defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn talked this week about improving Detroit's red zone numbers on both sides of the ball.

Offensively, the Lions have struggled in the red zone over the last month or so and rank 24th in the NFL with a touchdown efficiency percentage of 48.2 percent.

Defensively, Detroit ranks 26th allowing a touchdown in the red zone 65.4 percent of the time.

The Lions face a Chargers team today that is second in the NFL offensively scoring touchdowns in the red zone at 69.2 percent. Their defense ranks 16th at 53.3 percent.


The Lions get veteran running back David Montgomery back today after he missed the last two games with a rib injury. Before the injury he ran for at least 100 yards and a touchdown in back-to-back contests.

Rookie Jahmyr Gibbs is coming off a career-high 152 rushing yards in the win over the Raiders while handling the load for the injured Montgomery. With Montgomery back in the mix how will the Lions distribute carries today against the Chargers' No. 6 ranked run defense?

"Looking forward to getting (Gibbs) and Monty both their fair load of touches," Johnson said this week. "They both have proved worthy of it. I was talking to the skill guys earlier this week, it's a good problem to have right now having some mouths to feed. So, it's not just that room, but receivers and tight ends as well."


The Lions were able to escape with a win over Las Vegas before the bye despite turning the ball over three times and going just 1-for-5 in the red zone. Detroit knows they can't turn the ball over three times against the Chargers on the road and expect to have the same result.

One of the strengths of this Chargers team has been their ability to generate takeaways on defense and take care of the football offensively. Los Angeles' plus-nine turnover differential is tied for the NFL lead. The Chargers have generated 15 takeaways and turned it over only six times all season. The Lions have a zero differential having turned the ball over 10 times and generated 10 takeaways.

View photos from the Detroit Lions' trip to Los Angeles for their Week 10 game against the Chargers.


The Lions have played terrific offensive football for most of the year as they enter today's contest ranked second in the league in total offense. They are top six in both passing and rushing offense. They've accomplished that despite starting seven different offensive line combinations in eight games because of injury.

That's a credit to offensive line coach Hank Fraley and players like Graham Glasgow, Kayode Awosika, Colby Sorsdal and others for stepping in and having a next-man-up mentality. Glasgow has played so well starting at all three interior spots at times this season he's earned the starting nod at right guard. Center Frank Ragnow and left guard Jonah Jackson return to the lineup today from injury. This will be the first time since Week 1 the Lions have been this healthy upfront. How much of an impact will that have for Detroit in both the pass and run games today?