PFF Preview: Lions @ Patriots, Week 12
In what is expected to be one of the best matchups in Week 12, the Detroit Lions (7-3) pay the New England Patriots (8-2) a visit at Gillette Stadium, as two divisional leaders face-off. Having won six consecutive games, scoring 40-plus points in three consecutive games, and with the emergence of Jonas Gray, the Patriots are one of the most feared teams in football. Yet, with the Lions fielding one of the best, if not the best defense in the league, will Gray and the Patriots run game fall short? Here’s a closer look.
In Week 11, Gray put together the best game of his young career, which, in turn, earned him a run grade of +5.1, second only to Le’Veon Bell. Of Gray’s 199 total yards on the ground, 102 came after contact, the most produced by any back in Week 11 and the fifth-most produced by any running back in a single game this year. In addition, Gray forced six missed tackles (tied for fourth-most), earning him an Elusive Rating of 42.4, 12th-best among all running backs with a minimum of 12 total touches.
That being said, prior to Week 11 the Indianapolis Colts had earned a defensive run grade of +0.5, average at best. Gray’s performance came against a poor run defense. The defensive unit of the Lions’ is nothing of the sort. Collectively, the Lions field one of the best front sevens in football and have earned a cumulative defensive run grade of +53.9, second-best in the league.
DeAndre Levy, specifically, has been the Lions’ best defender against the run. Having racked up 45 tackles and 37 stops in 219 run snaps, Levy has produced a Run Stop Percentage of 16.9%; best among all 4-3 outside linebackers who have played a minimum of 70 run snaps. Come Sunday, the Lions may prove to be too much for Gray, as he may quickly meet the strength of this daunting Lions’ defense. Thankfully for New England, though, the Patriots have this guy who goes by the name of Tom Brady.
Here are three more notable numbers for each side:
Matthew Stafford – Stafford’s Accuracy Percentage of 73.2% ranks 22nd out of 37 quarterbacks who have a minimum of 121 drop-backs.
Golden Tate – Tate’s 91 targets ranks eighth among all wide receivers and his ‘WR Rating’ of 114.3 is in the Top 20 among 85 receivers who’ve seen at least 30 targets.
Glover Quin – Allowing just 0.23 Yards Per Coverage Snap, Quin ranks 10th out of 82 safeties that have played a minimum of 115 snaps.
New England Patriots
Rob Gronkowski – With just four targets deep down field (20+ yards), Gronkowski has reeled in both targets that were deemed catchable.
Danny Amendola –Amendola’s Slot Percentage of 81.9% ranks ninth out of 56 wide receivers that have ran a minimum of 80 routes out of the slot.
Dont’a Hightower – With a pass coverage grade of +7.2, Hightower ranks third among all inside linebackers.
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