In a featured Saturday night matchup, Lions head coach Dan Campbell will face off against his former mentor Sean Payton and the Denver Broncos. Having taken six of the last seven, Denver is looking to continue their momentum while Detroit is hoping to put an end to the poor performances that have seen them drop two of the last three.
Last time out: Chicago got the best of the Lions, handing Detroit a 28-13 defeat. It was a rare off-day for a Detroit offense that normally ranks among the best in the league. After finding the end zone twice in quick succession before the half they went on to record just four first downs—all coming in the last two possessions of the game. Turnovers continued to be a problem. Quarterback Jared Goff threw two interceptions and botched a snap with center Graham Glasgow, resulting in a Bears fumble recovery.
For the most part the Lions' defense did their best to keep the game within reach. They recorded three sacks, five tackles for loss, four passes defended, eight quarterback hits, and held Chicago to just two-for-five in the red zone.
Denver beat the Chargers in Week 14, 24-7. It was a defensive-led performance behind six sacks, seven tackles for loss and eight passes defended. They added an interception and a fumble recovery as well. The Chargers were unable to convert on one of their 12 third downs and only converted one of their six fourth-down opportunities.
Quarterback Russell Wilson did enough offensively to take advantage of the dominant performance from the Broncos' defense. Wilson recorded 224 yards, two touchdowns, one interception and a 91.0 passer rating. Wilson spread the ball around, with 10 different Broncos recording at least one reception.
Comparison: Both these teams have fared pretty well in their primetime kickoffs. Detroit is 3-0 defeating the Chiefs and Packers on Thursday Night Football and the Raiders on Monday Night Football. Denver is 2-1 with wins over the Bills on Monday Night Football and the Vikings on Sunday Night Football. Their lone loss was to the Chiefs on Thursday Night Football.
Matchups: Coach Campbell's Lions have always put an emphasis on running the ball and are averaging 137.5 yards per game on the ground—ranked fifth in the league. They have an opportunity to exploit a Broncos team that's last in rushing yards allowed at 144 yards per contest. However, for a Detroit team struggling with turnovers as of late they will be aware of the Broncos league-leading 13 fumble recoveries this season.
In their last meeting: The Broncos handed the Lions a 38-10 defeat. It was a battle between the two current Detroit quarterbacks as Teddy Bridgewater was under center for the Broncos. 184 yards and three touchdowns on the ground and two forced turnovers allowed Denver to dominate the 2021 contest.
The overall series: Denver is 9-5 when they take on the Lions and have won the last three. The last Detroit win was in 2011.
Matchup odds: ESPN Analytics favors the Lions with a 59.3 percent chance to win.
View photos of the starters for the Denver Broncos.
Here are 5 Broncos storylines to follow heading into Saturday's matchup:
1. 'It's going to be a great test for us': Broncos adopting internal focus ahead of prime-time matchup with NFC North-leading Lions
The Denver Broncos have been on a red hot steak recently and are focused on embracing the pressure that comes with Saturday's prime-time game in a hostile Ford Field environment ... READ MORE
2. Broncos Now: HC Sean Payton looks ahead to Saturday night's matchup in Detroit
Broncos reporter Sydney Jones recaps the highlights from this week's press conferences including head coach Sean Payton previewing the challenge ahead against the Lions ... LISTEN
3. HC Sean Payton on the Broncos' upcoming stretch: 'We've just got to focus on the next job'
Head coach Sean Payton speaks with media about his relationship with Dan Campbell and the success his team had last week against the Chargers … LISTEN
4. QB Russell Wilson on WR Courtland Sutton: 'Courtland's been special all year'
Quarterback Russell Wilson talks about his dynamic connection with wide receiver Courtland Sutton and the team's focus on continuing their momentum against Detroit ... WATCH
5. S Justin Simmons on the success of the Broncos' defense: 'We're playing sound, communication-wise'
Safety Justin Simmons explains what has led to the defenses' recent success in the pass rush and generating takeaways ... WATCH