The Detroit Lions will look to make it three wins in a row and top the .500 mark on the season as they host the 4-2 Indianapolis Colts at Ford Field today. It's an opportunity for the Lions to win their first game at Ford Field this season, and put themselves in the playoff conversation in the NFC near the halfway point of the season.
Here are five things to watch out for in today's matchup:
The Lions have gotten contributions from a lot of sources during their current two-game win streak, including second-year tight end T.J. Hockenson and rookie running back D’Andre Swift. Hockenson's caught a touchdown pass in three straight games, including last week's game-tying score as time expired. Swift has scored three touchdowns in Detroit's last two victories. The Lions are the only team in the NFL to have a tight end and running back each score a touchdown in each of the last three games.
The Colts' defense ranks second in total defense (288.0), second against the pass (199.7), third against the run (88.3) and fourth in points allowed (19.2), and they have been especially at good limiting opposing running backs and tight ends.
They have allowed just 134 receiving yards to opposing tight ends in six games this season. No tight end has scored on them so far in 2020. The Colts have allowed 100 rushing yards just once this season, and running backs have four total touchdowns in six games.
It will be a tough challenge today for Detroit's tight ends and running backs against the Colts' defense.
Lions wide receiver Kenny Golladay posted 105 receiving yards Week 6 at Jacksonville and 114 yards at Atlanta Week 7. He is the only player in the NFL to produce at least 100 receiving yards in each of his last two games. Can the fourth-year receiver keep his streak of 100-yard receiving games alive today?
Golladay and Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford have built quite the rapport over the last few seasons, and Stafford seems to have a ton of confidence right now throwing the ball to Golladay, even if he's covered, knowing his 6-foot-4 pass catcher will go up and make a play for him.
The Colts' defense has allowed the second fewest plays of 20-plus yard plays this season, so the Lions will likely need Golladay to go up and make a few contested catches for them today.
STOPPING THE RUN
The biggest factor in the Lions' two victories the last two weeks, outside of winning the turnover battle in each contest, has been their ability to stop the run. The Jaguars and Falcons combined for 110 rushing yards the last two weeks for an average of 55.0 rushing yards per game. Detroit was allowing on average more than 170.0 yards per game on the ground to opponents the first month of the season.
The ability to stop the run and make Jacksonville and Atlanta one dimensional was a big key to victory the last two weeks. It's also helped their pass rush and allowed them to play pretty good defense overall.
Can they slow down rookie running back Jonathan Taylor and the Colts' 28th ranked rushing offense again today?
The Lions have had 504 offensive touches this season, which accounts for all scrimmage touches plus all quarterback touches (sacks included), and are the only team in the NFL to not fumble the ball so far season. Detroit's one of four teams to not lose a fumble, with every other team fumbling at least twice.
Through Week 7, the Lions have only committed four turnovers, the third fewest in the NFL. Detroit's won the turnover battle 3-1 over the last two weeks combined.
The Lions have a plus-three turnover differential on the year, the same at the Colts. Detroit will have to continue to be good protecting the football today as Indianapolis comes into this matchup leading the NFL with 10 interceptions on the year.
FRIENDS & FAMILY
The Lions are welcoming 500 friends and family members to Ford Field today in what will be the first time the Lions have people in the stands this season.
The 500 guests amount to less than 1 percent of Ford Field's 65,000 capacity, but it will still be good to hear some cheering, and maybe that will give the Lions some energy they've lacked in their previous two games played in an empty Ford Field Weeks 1 & 4, both Lions losses.