On Sunday, the Cleveland Browns’ take on the Detroit Lions. To help preview a few topics from the Patriots’ perspective, we reached out to Mike Payton from Pride of Detroit and exchanged five questions with him. Enjoy!
Chris: “There is a chance that one or both of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt could return this week. The Browns boast the top rushing attack in the NFL, while the Lions’ run defense is allowing 136 yards rushing per game (30th in the NFL). Has Detroit’s run defense been as bad as the stats indicate?”
Mike: “The Lions defense is an enigma. Some weeks they’re on fire and look like they’re well on their way to building a top unit down the road. Other weeks they are a siv and Jim Brown could run for 200 yards on him at whatever age he is now. Which I imagine is 173 years old. I fully expect the Browns to run all over the Lions on Sunday.”
Chris: “What are fans’ thoughts on Jared Goff and his possible future with the team? Is this year going to be it for him?”
Mike: “Lions fans are vocally upset with Jared Goff. He has had a very bad year. The kind of year that loses a quarterback the chance to start ever again. Having said that, the Lions are going to be tied to Goff for at least one more season. I expect the Lions to draft a quarterback or make a play for one in free agency. Hell, they might even take a shot at Russell Wilson if they’re feeling saucy. At this point it’s uncertain if Goff will play on Sunday and I think Lions fans would be perfectly OK with that.”
Chris: “Late field goals have not been kind to the Lions in losses to the Ravens, Vikings, and a tie to the Steelers. That aside, what is the biggest reason the Lions are winless half-way through the season?”
Mike: “Youth and talent are the Lions two biggest issues. They’re young enough to not know how to win yet and they’re untalented enough for the first reason to not matter. This team fights like hell every week and it’s very admirable, but it’s just not enough. Jared Goff and his limitations may be the biggest issue for the Lions at first sight. A closer look will show you that his receiving corps is a patchwork mess that struggles to get open and catch the ball when they do.
The Lions have so much work to do. I believe that they might pull off an upset at some point, but I wouldn’t be shocked to see them go winless yet again. You know what, that’s perfectly OK if that happens. The Lions have the money and the draft capital to turn things around. Higher picks would certainly help that effort.”
Chris: “The Lions drafted OT Penei Sewell with the 7th overall pick in this year’s draft. How has he fared so far?”
Mike: “He’s legit. There were some bumps in the road early on. But, he has stepped up and shown that there was a reason he was so highly touted. He started his first game at right tackle this past weekend against the Steelers and he graded out at 72.9 on Pro Football Focus. The Lions should have a very good line in 2022.”
Chris: “Tell us about one player who Browns fans may not have heard of, but who could have an impact on this Sunday’s game.”
Mike: “It’s undrafted rookie corner Jerry Jacobs. This is a guy that showed up at camp and worked his tail off to stay with the team. He got a shot to start after Jeff Okudah went down with a torn Achilles and he’s made the most of it. There’s still some work to be done. He can be beat at times. But, then there are times when he’s going up against guys like Ja’Marr Chase and shutting him down. He’s got a while to go before he can be a lockdown corner, but his work ethic can get him there.”
Thanks again to Mike taking the time to answer my questions.