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Cosell's Eight Things To Watch Sunday


In his preparation for Sunday's game, NFL Films senior producer Greg Cosell studied Detroit's first four games and came away with the following things to keep an eye on.

Lions On Offense

1. The Lions are predominantly a shotgun offense. You will even see significant snaps out of the pistol formation. Quarterback Matthew Stafford is not under center very often.

2. Last week against Chicago, the Lions' offensive line struggled in the first half, both in the run game and pass protection. It was particularly noticeable in pass protection, as Stafford never felt comfortable.

3. Stafford has good mobility. His legs can be a factor both scrambling for first downs and moving to throw. When he moves, the defense must not give up coverage because he will throw down the field. He keeps good field vision on the move.

Lions On Defense

1. The Lions feature a 10-man rotation along the defensive line with a lot of moving parts. But with Ezekiel Ansah out, they do not have an edge player an offense must account for.

2. One matchup you can get when you play 12 personnel (one running back, two tight ends) with offset back versus the Lions' base 4-3 is linebacker Tahir Whitehead matched on the back in the passing game. That's a matchup to look for versus the Eagles with Wendell Smallwood and Darren Sproles.

3. Lions featured under fronts in their base 4-3 with Kyle Van Noy the strongside linebacker aligned on the line of scrimmage. Whitehead and Antwione Williams were the stacked linebackers. The Lions are an under-over front defense in their base 4-3.

4. Lions also played quarters and one robber in addition to two-man coverages out of dime on third-and-long. Detroit likes to feature different coverage looks on third-and-long. Fran Duffy delved more into detail about how the Lions attack in this down-and-distance situation.

5. Detroit is not a high-percentage blitz defense. The Lions rely on four-man defensive line rush out of nickel and dime subpackages.

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