The New England Patriots secondary has an excellent test ahead of them tonight in Week 3 of the preseason, as most teams play their starters heavily this week as a tune-up for the regular season. This is a great opportunity for the Patriots to face a high-flying first-team offense that is led by the best wide receiver in the game in Calvin Johnson. The man throwing him the ball, Matthew Stafford, isn’t too shabby of a quarterback either, and the Lions also have a few other weapons that the Patriots will need to keep track of in Reggie Bush, Ryan Broyles, and TE Brandon Pettigrew. Bill Belichick also highlighted Tony Scheffler (to him, I say “meh”) and veteran wideout Nate Burleson as two other guys the Patriots will need to be aware of.
Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) during a preseason game against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Praise has been abound for playmakers on the Detroit Lions offense and defense, as Tom Brady and Logan Mankins praised Ndamukong Suh (after Suh praised Brady) and the Lions D, while Kyle Arrington had plenty of nice things to say about Calvin Johnson.
Yesterday, Arrington also praised Matthew Stafford, via the Boston Herald, “It all starts with Stafford. He’s a great rocket-arm guy. We definitely have to be at the point of attack on a lot of guys on the field.”
Arrington said this about the Lions offensive attack as a whole, “Each team has its own style of play. This is definitely one of those run-and-gun teams. They can put points on the board in a hurry, so we definitely want to start out fast and try to get as many guys to the ball as possible.”
I am excited to see how the New England Patriots defensive backs do against the Detroit Lions aerial attack, because this secondary needs to be as battle-tested as possible heading into the regular season. Hopefully we’ll see the Lions first-team quite a bit today, but I’m not sure how often top WRs Johnson and Broyles will be on the field. The Lions do a great job of making big plays with their explosive offense, and that’s largely due to Johnson’s ability and Stafford’s, as Arrington described it, rocket arm. Only Devin McCourty was great against the deep ball lasts season, and he’s one of the best in the NFL against it. Duron Harmon has plenty of promise in that regard, and this also puts more of an emphasis on this matchup for the Patriots.