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TIM AND MIKE: Week 4 observations

Trading aces: Marvin Jones Jr. has stepped into the role of No. 1 receiver and delivered in a hurry. His stats show that – six catches for 205 yards and two TDs vs. the Packers; 18 catches for 408 yards for the three games. Which raises the question, do the Lions miss Calvin Johnson? Obviously, it would be great to have Johnson and Jones together, but in actuality the Lions would not have signed Jones as a free agent if Johnson hadn't retired. The Lions should be satisfied with the way Jones has taken over for Johnson. – Mike O'Hara

First-round woes: Detroit's last two first-round draft picks – LT Taylor Decker and G Laken Tomlinson – had performances Sunday in Green Bay they'd probably rather forget. Decker allowed two sacks and five hurries from 47 dropbacks. Tomlinson wasn't very good in the run-blocking department, and allowed a hurry and quarterback hit. Young players upfront will have their ups and downs. Sunday was one of the downs for both players. – *Tim Twentyman


Cincy shuffle: Who misses Marvin Jones Jr.? Look no further than a six-hour drive down I-75 to Cincinnati, where the Bengals and QB Andy Dalton are missing Jones as a complementary receiver to A.J. Green. After three games, Dalton has two TD passes and two interceptions compared to eight TD passes and one pick after three games last year. Green is off to a good start with 22 catches, but he's Cincy's only wide receiver with a TD catch in the first three games. He had three in the first three games last year, Jones two and tight end Tyler Eifert three. – Mike O'Hara

Good start: Jones is getting a lot of attention for having over 400 yards receiving through the team's first three games, but tight end Eric Ebron has had a very nice start to his third season too. He's battled some nagging injuries, but he's caught all 14 of the catchable passes thrown his way for 168 yards and a touchdown. His receiving yards are fifth among tight ends. He's been a reliable playmaker and is currently second on the team in receiving yards. – Tim Twentyman

Hands off: The Lions have only one interception, and that was by safety Glover Quin in Game 2. One problem is that the secondary hasn't gotten its hands on balls. In the first three games, opposing quarterbacks have thrown 104 passes. The Lions have been credited with 12 pass breakups. Seven are by the front seven – linebackers and linemen – and five by defensive backs. – *Mike O'Hara


Bad trend: The defense has allowed at least 34 points in two of their first three contests to begin the season. Entering this week's division matchup in Chicago, the Lions rank 28th in points allowed (28.3) per game. The last time the Lions made the playoffs in 2014, they did so on the strength of a defense that allowed just 17.6 points per game. It's something the Lions will have to figure out moving forward. It's no coincidence that the five 3-0 teams currently in the NFL all rank in the Top 8 in the NFL in that category. – Tim Twentyman

Leg work: Punter Sam Martin continues to give the Lions an advantage in field position. He had a gross average of 47.5 yards and a net of 47 on two punts against Green Bay. Packers punter Jacob Schum had a gross average of 41.5 yards and a net of 33.5. The differential is a gain of 13.5 points per punt in favor of the Lions. – Mike O'Hara

Windy City hoping: The Lions' first outing without Ameer Abdullah at running back didn't go so well from a rushing standpoint. Granted, the Lions had to abandon the run some once they fell behind big, but they finished with just 50 yards on 23 carries for a 2.2 average. Considering the big lead and the fact that Green Bay entered the game as the No. 1 defense against the run, I'll hold off judgment for one more week. But if Theo Riddick and Dwayne Washington can't get it going next week against the Bears' 31st ranked run defense (142.7), there might be a problem. – Tim Twentyman

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