There will be a lot of people around the NFL that will be curious to see the matchup between the Lions and Chiefs this week. Besides the fact that the Chiefs struggled last week in a big way against Buffalo, these are still two of the exciting young teams in the NFL.
The Lions are led by their young standout defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, and the former No. 1 overall pick Matt Stafford at quarterback. The Chiefs led the NFL in rushing in 2010 and despite a dismal showing against the Bills overall, they still managed a 6 yards per carry average on the ground. But just like the Bills defensive line is on the upswing with Kyle Williams and Marcel Dareus, the Lions front seven is already there with arguably the best young defensive player in the NFL and perhaps one of the best overall defensive players in the NFL. Suh really is at that level and Todd Haley knows as much. via KCChiefs.com
"As far as him as a player, he's one of the bright young stars in the league at a position that doesn't always get a lot of notoriety. I love the way he plays. I love his intensity, his toughness and his ability to make plays."
The key to victory for the Chiefs on offense is to lessen Suh's impact on the game. If they can keep him from causing a turnover or making a big play, they have a shot at moving the ball and putting some points on the board. They also must find a way to at least show the threat of throwing the ball downfield against the Lions secondary. Matt Cassel's 3.3 YPA last week against the Bills wouldn't get it done against K-State, let alone a NFL caliber defense.
The key to shutting down the Lions on offense for the Chiefs is to limit the impact of Brandon Pettigrew in the passing game. The tight end is a favorite target of Stafford and is more of a move-the-chains type of player than your home run threat. That spot is saved for Calvin Johnson, who is going to make some plays in this game because he's just too talented to be completely shut down. But if the Chiefs can tighten up on him in the redzone and force some field goals rather than touchdowns, they have a much better chance at winning with a low-scoring game. Limiting Pettigrew might be a tough task to ask the Chiefs secondary after losing Eric Berry for the season with the torn ACL. Newly re-signed Chiefs safety Reshard Langford might have his opportunity to see what he can do and match up with the Lions' tight end.
The Chiefs are also going to see a lot of Jahvid Best on Sunday. They'll need to do a much better job of tackling this week because Best has the ability to score any time he touches the ball from any distance. Much like the Chiefs' Jamaal Charles, Best is a very explosive runner that can put it into another gear if he finds enough space. The Lions were unfortunate to lose Mikel Leshoure for the season from an achilles injury that occured before the season began. The second-round pick from Illinois was slated to pair with Best to make a pretty good young running back tandem. Instead the Chiefs will see the familiar face in Jerome Harrison.
It was Harrison that broke Jim Brown's single game rushing record for a Cleveland Brown by putting up 286 yards rushing against the Chiefs back in 2009. Although the Chiefs did answer back last year by limiting Harrison to just 33 yards on 16 carries. Best will see the majority of carries in this game though. Last week against the Buccaneers Best carried the ball 21 times to just 8 for Harrison.
It's pretty simple for the Chiefs on offense. They need to hold on to the ball and not turn it over like they did against the Bills, and find a way to sustain some drives so they can use their bread and butter in a way that works for them. Jamaal Charles needs to have his prescence felt early in this game and a quick start by the Chiefs would go a long ways in quieting what is sure to be a roudy crowd at Ford Field in Detroit.