Detroit Lions News: 3 players that need to step up in Week Eleven

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports /

The Detroit Lions are currently littered with injuries, leaving plenty of opportunities for others to step up.  Here are three players that need to perform well if the Lions hope to come away with a Week Eleven victory.

Not only will the Detroit Lions be without starting running back D’Andre Swift, but they’ll also be minus star receiver Kenny Golladay, not to mention quarterback Matthew Stafford has a bad thumb but will start.  Slot specialist Danny Amendola will also be forced to miss the Week Eleven tilt with Carolina due to a hip injury.

The Lions will also be forced to perform without Austin Bryant and Da’Shawn Hand this week on a defense that’s already without their top player in Trey Flowers.

The Detroit Lions are not the only team that is short-handed.  The Carolina Panthers will be without the leagues’ most dynamic running back, Christian McCaffrey.  The Panthers may also be without Teddy Bridgewater, who enters the day as questionable.

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It’s a Matt Patricia led team that enters the day with an overall record of 4-5, with an opportunity to head into a Thanksgiving matchup against the Houston Texans with a .500 record.

Here are three players that need to step up if the Lions hope to upset the Panthers today.

WR Marvin Jones

After a terribly slow start to the season, Marvin Jones has finally gotten into a groove over the last four games.  That trend will need to continue if Detroit has a chance to come away with a victory Sunday.

Jones has scored a touchdown in each of his last three games, including a pair against the Colts in Week Eight.  That after scoring just once in the teams’ first six contests in 2020.  Jones has amassed 258 receiving yards over that four-game span, four touchdowns on 19 receptions, maintaining a stable 70.4 percent catch rate.

With both Golladay and Amendola absent, Jones will need to be a significant contributor, likely commanding at least ten targets on the day.

Everson Griffen

General manager Bob Quinn initially added Everson Griffen to bolster the teams’ defensive front and be a rotational end with the surging Romeo Okwara.  Instead, Griffen has been forced into every-down duty with Flowers sidelined due to injury.

Griffen is coming off a spectacular performance against Washington. He posted a terrific 76.7 overall grade according to Pro Football Focus (PFF), the highest single-game mark he’s earned this season.  Griffen recorded four tackles, three hurries, one quarterback hit, and a sack in Detroit’s nail-biting victory a week ago.

It will be vital for the Lions’ short-handed defensive front to create a pass-rush on whoever is playing quarterback because, without pressure, Panthers’ receivers D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson will both have an opportunity to shed the Lions mediocre secondary.

Jamal Agnew

The Detroit Lions will gladly welcome their dynamic swiss-army knife back into their lineup.  Matthew Stafford won’t only need help in the run game, but with a bad thumb, the quick passing game will be essential in today’s matchup.

Sure we expect Jones, Kerryon Johnson, T.J. Hockenson, Marvin Hall, and rookie Quintez Cephus to all play a role in Detroit’s passing game but don’t sleep on Agnew.

Jamal Agnew will have an opportunity to be a factor working out of the slot, not only on jet sweeps but catching the football on crossing routes and using his elite kick returning skills in space, hoping to turn a short catch into a significant gain.

Next. Amani Oruwariye deserves a bigger piece of pie. dark

The dynamic cornerback turned receiver may finally pop today, and that is something I’ve been eager to see.