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Five Questions with Pride of Detroit

Ahead of Sunday’s showdown with the Detroit Lions, I chat with Mike Payton of Pride of Detroit about what to expect from this Detroit team.

NFL: Detroit Lions at Arizona Cardinals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

1. As someone who has watched Matthew Stafford’s whole career, just how good is he? Do you think he’s the caliber player you can build a Super Bowl contender around?

I can tell now that there are probably over 20 GM’s in the NFL right now that would lose their arms in a tragic arm losing accident to get have Matthew Stafford on their team. He is absolutely the real deal. He’s often overlooked because he pays for the Lions though. Which is understandable of course.

As for the Super Bowl contender question, the answer to that is yes as well. The Lions are currently trying to do that with him now. After years of poor management and poor coaching, this is as close as I’ve seen this Lions organization being since 1991. They still have a ways to go in protecting their star quarterback.

2. How has the Matt Patricia experience been thus far? Are you optimistic about it moving forward?

It’s been a little hit and miss. When Patrica came on I think the expectations were that the Lions were going to have a sharp and immediate turnaround. They dealt with a lot of injuries in his first year and went 6-10. He shoulders some of that blame rightfully so. After last week’s tie with the Cardinals, many fans are not very happy with the coaching staff due to the most ill advised timeout ever.

Still, the players respond very well to Patricia and from all conversations that we’ve had with them, they’re all bought in. Only time will tell if that turns into real success or if Patricia is just another Belichick lackey.

3. David Johnson had a great deal of success in the passing game last week. Do you think the Lions defense can do a better job against Austin Ekeler this week?

The Lions shouldn’t have very much trouble stopping the run this Sunday or any other Sunday this season for that matter. There is so much talent along this defensive line and they’re anchored by Pro Football Focus’s best interior lineman of 2018 in Damon Harrison.

However, if the Chargers decide to target the Lions linebackers with Ekeler in the passing game, the man is going to eat all day long. I would make sure you start him in your fantasy league. The Lions line is great and their secondary had a very good showing in week one. But their biggest weakness on defense is definitely right in the middle.

4. Do you think facing Terrell Suggs and Chandler Jones last week has prepared the Lions’ offensive line for Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram this week?

I would hope so. The Lions offensive line had some trouble last week and allowed Stafford to get sacked three times. A lot of the trouble came from Taylor Decker on the blindside. He had the worst game of his entire career last Sunday. Decker showed up on the injury report this week. That led to some speculation that he might have been hurt going into week one.

Much like the Chargers, the Lions have long struggled to put a solid line in front of Matthew Stafford. The Chargers have a real advantage if they can get pressure on number nine in Honolulu blue.

5. Who is your pick to win this game?

I have to go with the Lions here. The Chargers are just missing too many players at key positions and the Lions offense appears poised to have another big game while the defense should bend a not break just enough to keep Rivers at bay.