Takeaways have been hard to come by for the Detroit Lions' defense through their first seven games.
In 2017, the Lions hid a few of their flaws on that side of the ball by being an opportunistic bunch when it came to snatching up turnovers and creating big plays on defense. Led by cornerback Darius Slay's eight interceptions, the Lions recorded the third most takeaways in the NFL last season with 32. Only Jacksonville (33) and Baltimore (34) had more.
Of those 32 takeaways, 19 came off interceptions. That tied Detroit with Philadelphia for the fourth most in the league a year ago.
Detroit's turnover differential last season was a plus-10.
Those impact turnovers have dried up for the Lions' defense early on in 2018.
Through seven games, Detroit has generated just six turnovers. Only San Francisco (5) has created fewer.
Of those six, only two have come via interceptions. They got one on the first play of the year by Quandre Diggs against the Jets Week 1. Their other one was Week 3 when Slay intercepted Tom Brady on a deep ball. They've had none since. Only Tampa Bay (1) has fewer picks on the season.
The Lions currently rank 23rd in the NFL with a turnover differential of minus-four. That statistic highlights the fact that the Lions right now aren't getting enough game-changing plays on that side of the football to help them win games.
"It's rough out there, ain't it," Slay said Monday. "It's rough. I don't know, man. We have to put it together. Find a way, you know. We just have to contribute more. We have to get the ball back to our offense."
The turnover battle will loom large this week as the Lions hit the road to play in Minnesota on Sunday.
In Mike Zimmer's first four years as the Vikings' head coach, the team didn't have more than six games in a season where it finished with a negative turnover margin, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Minnesota already has four such games this season – and is 0-3-1 in those games.
Pro Football Focus Week 8 stats:
Top 3 graded players on offense by Pro Football Focus vs. Seattle (at least 10 snaps):
- WR Marvin Jones Jr. (79.8)
- TE Levine Toilolo (71.0)
- C Graham Glasgow (68.4)
Bottom 3 graded players on offense by Pro Football Focus vs. Seattle (at least 10 snaps):
- TE Michael Roberts (45.1)
- TE Luke Willson (48.0)
- QB Matthew Stafford (50.6)
Top 3 graded players on defense by Pro Football Focus vs. Seattle (at least 10 snaps):
- DT Damon Harrison (91.1)
- DT A'Shawn Robinson (90.3)
- LB Christian Jones (78.2)
Bottom 3 graded players on defense by Pro Football Focus vs. Seattle (at least 10 snaps):
- CB Teez Tabor (30.9)
- S Glover Quin (33.2)
- CB DeShawn Shead (48.1)
Here are some other statistics, both good and bad, for the Lions after seven weeks of football:
- The Lions have had a total of 28 negative plays on offense (including sacks). Only New Orleans (27) and Kansas City (26) have had fewer.
- There are 10 quarterbacks in the NFL with a passer rating above 100.0. Matthew Stafford ranks 11th with a rating of 98.5.
- Opponents are averaging 20.2 yards per punt return on the Lions. That's the highest average in the NFL. The league average is 8.6 yards per return.
- WR Marvin Jones Jr. has three touchdowns on the year on passes that traveled more than 20 yards in the air. That's the second most in the NFL behind the four from Adam Thielen, DeSean Jackson and Antonio Brown.
- The 144.6 yards per game opponents are averaging on the ground against Detroit's defense are the second most in the NFL. Only Oakland (144.7) has been worse defending the run.