For the fourth straight week, the Chiefs will be facing an opponent that hasn’t lost this season.
Naturally, that includes the season opener at Jacksonville and there’s also an asterisk for this week’s opponent, the Lions.
Detroit opened the year with a tie at Arizona, but the Lions have won their last two and have a 2-0-1 record heading into Sunday’s game. On Sunday, they held off the Eagles for a 27-24 win in Philadelphia.
The Lions haven’t been particularly strong on either side of the ball, at least statistically. However, they have found a way to not lose.
“I think it’s good to get wins, not playing your best football,” quarterback Matthew Stafford told the Detroit Free Press. “I know we haven’t played our best football. We had too many procedural penalties on offense. I think we gave up two first downs on defense, on procedural penalties. But we kept battling and found ways to win. We are doing it against good football teams, too.”
Each week, I take an early look at the Chiefs’ next opponent, and here are five things to know about the Lions ahead of Sunday’s game, which kicks off at noon and will be broadcast on Fox (Ch. 4):
1. Solid Stafford
Stafford, who is in his 11th NFL season, hasn’t missed a start since the beginning of the 2011. He’s having a solid, if not spectacular, year with a 97.5 quarterback rating.
Stafford has completed 67 of 107 passes (62.6%) for six touchdowns and two interceptions. His touchdown percentage (5.6%) is the best since Stafford’s first full season in 2011 (6.2%). Stafford’s interception percentage (1.9%) is his lowest in three years.
In a 27-24 win at Philadelphia on Sunday, Stafford completed 18 of 32 passes for 201 yards and a touchdown.
2. Spreading the wealth
Detroit’s website noted the Lions have had four different players record a 100-yard game this season, including Marvin Jones Jr. on Sunday. Jones had 101 yards in six catches, including this 12-yard touchdown:
The others: tight end T.J. Hockenson (131) and wide receivers Danny Amendola (104) and Kenny Golladay (117).
“I have a lot of comfort with (Jones) and really all of those guys,” Stafford told Tim Twentyman of detroitlions.com.
3. Injury questions
This being the NFL, it should be no surprise the Lions’ victory in Philadelphia came at a cost.
Cornerback Darius Slay and defensive lineman Mike Daniels both left the game and did not return because of injury, per the Lions’ website.
A foot injury sidelined Daniels, who made the Pro Bowl in 2017. Slay, a two-time Pro Bowler, sustained a hamstring injury.
The Lions didn’t provide an update on either player after Sunday’s game.
4. One big negative
The Lions have a negative total-offense differential through three games, having gained 1,103 yards while allowing 1,184.
Detroit’s rush offense is ranked 19th (98.7 yards per game) and they are averaging just 3.4 yards per attempt. Kerryon Johnson is the main back, and he has 126 yards in 48 attempts (2.6 yards per attempt). But he did have this touchdown run on Sunday:
The Lions’ pass defense is 21st in the NFL (269.3 yards) per game. Detroit has faced Kyler Murray (Cardinals), Philip Rivers (Chargers) and Carson Wentz (Eagles) this season.
5. Special special-teams moment
Jamal Agnew was the first player this season to return a kickoff for a touchdown when he went 100 yards to the house against the Eagles on Sunday.
But Agnew had been benched earlier this season after a muffed punt and fumble.
Kicker Matt Prater has made four of six field-goal attempts, but he had one blocked late in Sunday’s game that gave the Eagles a chance to pull out a win. But Wentz’s last pass in the end zone fell incomplete.