The Detroit Lions (4-7) will look to get back in the win column today at Ford Field as they host the Jacksonville Jaguars (4-7). The Lions had their three-game win streak snapped on Thanksgiving by Buffalo. The Lions need to start another streak today to keep their playoff hopes alive in the NFC.
Here are five things I'll be looking out for in this one:
1. TOP TWO DRAFT PICKS MEET
Jacksonville defensive lineman Travon Walker was taken No. 1 overall in this year's NFL Draft, which allowed Detroit to take defensive lineman Aidan Hutchinson No. 2 overall.
Hutchinson said this week it wasn't lost on him that one team decided to pass on him in the draft. He said it will be in the back of his mind later today. The Lions are ecstatic to have Hutchinson, who is a Rookie of the Year candidate, and has been a little more productive than Walker as a pass rusher and play maker. These two will forever be linked throughout their careers. Which one will have the bigger impact today?
2. LIMITING LAWRENCE
Jaguars second-year quarterback Trevor Lawrence is playing some pretty darn good ball right now. In the month of November, Lawrence completed 83-of-108 passes (77 percent) for 815 yards with six touchdowns, no interceptions and a 116.1 passer rating, leading Jacksonville to a 2-1 record.
Lawrence isn't the same kind of threat on the ground as someone like Bears quarterback Justin Fields, but he can run and make plays with his legs. It's his arm, combined with a terrific receiving corps, that should be the biggest worry for Detroit's defense. The Lions' defense must do a good job of keeping Lawrence in the pocket, getting pressure in his face, and taking away his first read.
3. OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS
This Jacksonville defense ranks 24th in total defense, 25th against the pass, 25th on third down, and their 17.0 sacks are the second fewest in the NFL. There's an opportunity today for the Lions' offense to have a big day, especially in the passing game.
The Lions have scored 25-plus points in seven contests this year, which is second only to Kansas City's eight. Detroit is top 10 in points and total offense and No. 2 in red zone efficiency. This should be a game where Jacksonville has to score to keep up with Detroit at home.
4. FAMILIAR FACES IN NEW PLACES
Wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr. caught 36 touchdowns from 2016-20 while playing for the Lions. He returns to Ford Field as the veteran in a terrific receiver corps for Jacksonville that also includes Zay Jones and Christian Kirk.
Jamal Agnew was a fifth-round pick by the Lions in 2017. He was voted All Pro his rookie season after leading the NFL in punt return yards (447), return average (15.4) and return touchdowns (2). Agnew joined the Jaguars last year. He has six career kickoff and punt return touchdowns.
Lions wide receiver DJ Chark began his career with the Jaguars and was a Pro Bowler for them in 2019 when he caught 73 passes for 1,008 yards and eight touchdowns. He signed with Detroit in free agency this offseason after needing what he said was a fresh start with a new team. He'll be facing his old team for the first time.
View photos of Detroit Lions players' cleats for the NFL's My Cause My Cleats initiative.
5. MY CAUSE MY CLEATS
The annual My Cause My Cleats campaign has become an NFL tradition that gives players and coaches an opportunity to wear custom cleats that tell a personal story or champion a cause important to them. Both the Lions and Jaguars are taking part today.
National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (Scott Daly), F.A.R.M. (Obinna Eze), Project InPower (Aidan Hutchinson) and National Urban League (Jerry Jacobs) are just a few of the causes supported by Lions players today. Be sure to check out the cleats on the field.