Detroit Lions: Expect a heavy dose of Craig Reynolds vs. Cardinals

(Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Lions are expected to lean on Craig Reynolds for the second straight week with lead back D’Andre Swift likely to miss his third week in a row due to a should injury and Jamaal Williams still on the COVID-19/Reserve list.

Reynolds galloped for 83 yards on just 11 carries last week in Denver, plus added two catches totaling 16 yards. The 99 yards the Detroit Lions got from Reynolds was somewhat unexpected but proved two things.  The Detroit Lions are relatively deep at the running back position, and the offensive line can create rush lanes for whoever is pounding the rock.

Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn was not surprised by Reynolds big day;

"“The way Craig ran on Sunday was the way he’s been practicing,” Lions offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn said. “He was not a surprise to anyone. That’s just who he is. Duce Staley, his coach, calls him ‘Netflix’ because he was home watching Netflix one day, and the next night he was scoring touchdowns. That’s just Craig. We love him."

Swift leads Detroit’s backfield with 555 rushing yards averaging 4 yards per tote.  Swift is also third on the team with 56 receptions totaling 429 yards and two touchdowns.  Williams is Detroit’s 1B running back, averaging 4.2 yards per carry, and has totaled 459 rushing yards.  Both are significant losses to an already compromised Lions offense.

The Detroit Lions will rely on its depth in the backfield once again Sunday against Arizona.

The Detroit Lions will look towards a trio of running backs Sunday against a good Cardinal defense.  Arizona currently ranks 15th in the league against the run allowing 111 yards per game but just 95.7 over the last three.

In turn, Detroit is averaging 110.5 yards per game which ranks 17th.

I suspect following his success last Sunday, Reynolds will get the first opportunity, but we may also see a lot of Jermar Jefferson this weekend.  The seventh-round pick of the Detroit Lions has totaled 65 rushing yards, and two touchdowns on just ten carries this season.

Godwin Igwebuike has also flashed with the Lions, rushing for 118 yards on 16 carries and a touchdown; he’s also chipped in with 49 receiving yards on five catches.

It will be tough sledding for the Lions come Sunday, but I’ve been impressed with Detroit’s offensive line play this season, and especially considering they’ve been without star center Frank Ragnow for most of the year.

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Also, the Lions never did have an opportunity to deploy the whole starting unit together this season, with Taylor Decker beginning the year injured, followed by losing Ragnow. This group is expected to be a force in 2022.