Detroit Lions vs. New York Jets:

Detroit Lions Tracy Walker (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Detroit Lions Tracy Walker (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Lions are 6.5 point favorites over the New York Jets going into their first game of the season. has the over/under for the game at 45. The Lions moneyline is a -266. Their take on the smart money is that the Lions are going to win, cover, but that the total will go under.

The reason that Vegas has the smart money going on the under has little or nothing to do with the Lions offense. It would be very surprising if the Lions could not keep up their end of the bargain. The Jets defense gave up slightly below average metrics in 2017 per drive, but their inept offense couldn’t stay on the field. There is little reason to believe that their story will be much different in 2018.

How to beat the Jets offense

The Jets have brought in a rookie quarterback, Sam Darnold, and put one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL in front of him. Their receiver group is littered with quality number three receivers. The passing game should not be a problem for the Lions defense.

The Jets running game is reliant on Isaiah Crowell, who would be a dangerous player if he could get any blocking. This is by far the Jets most problematic offensive player. If Crowell can get rolling, that will buy Darnold more time in the pocket, something incredibly valuable to a kid taking his first steps in the league.

The Lions defense has not looked good in the preseason. Their secondary is their strength, and they will have to lean heavily on them to succeed. The Lions need to blitz Darnold early and often. They need to force quick decisions, as Darnold showed a penchant for costly mistakes with the ball early in games during his USC career.

The Lions defensive line needs to hold its ground and let the linebackers make their way through traffic to limit Crowell. He is not the kind of plus athlete that gives Jarrad Davis fits. If the Lions can Corral Crowell, they will be free to dial up blitzes in favorable down and distance situations.

How to beat the Jets defense

The Jets defense doesn’t have a fearsome pass rush. They don’t have a particularly opportunistic secondary. The strength of the defense will be stopping the run. The Lions may have to wait at least one more week to break the rushing ineptitude streak.

If, and this is a huge if, the Lions can run the ball, this game is going to be a route. A steady diet of LeGarrette Blount on first down is exactly what the Lions need to feed the Jets defense. The Jets will need to rely on their linebackers to get to Matt Stafford. Creating favorable down and distance.

The strength of the Jets defense is up the middle. Inside linebackers Darron Lee and Avery Williamson combine with strong safety Jamal Adams to clog the underneath passing game. The Lions will need to do more in the passing game than dump the ball off to Theo Riddick.

Marvin Jones, Golden Tate, Kenny Golladay, and T.J. Jones need to win battles on the outside when they get the chance. The Jets should have to blitz to generate pressure, and that should result in one on one matchups. The Jets have a pretty good corner group in Morris Claiborne, Trumaine Johnson and Buster Skrine. the Lions, however, may have the best wide receiver group in the NFL, That is the battle that will determine whether the Lions offense is successful on Monday night.

Next. Hakeem Valles could be the Lions most dangerous tight end. dark

The Lions should handle this one but stranger things have happened. It will definitely not reflect well on the coaching staff if the team’s preseason struggles continue into the regular season against a team with an inferior roster.