New York Giants vs. Detroit Lions Scouting Report

The Giants host the Lions (3-6) on Sunday. Detroit has gotten some of their key players back in recent weeks and have won two straight games against division rivals Green Bay and Chicago. The Lions have been outscored by 45 points this season and have a DVOA (an overall efficiency metric) of -5.1%, which ranks 20th in the league – right behind the Giants.

When the Lions have the ball…

5.94: Yards per play – 5th highest in the NFL

The Lions have moved the ball all season, ranking sixth in the league with 371.2 yards per game. Their 5.2% offensive DVOA (measuring offensive efficiency accounting for game situation) ranks 13th. They are a balanced team, ranking in the top 11 in both rush and pass yards per game, and ranking 12th in the league in rushing play rate (43.6%).

69.7%: Red Zone Touchdown Rate – 5th highest in the NFL

This game will feature the Giants’ second-ranked red zone defense against the fifth-ranked red zone offense. Jamaal Williams has been a red zone maestro with nine rushing touchdowns, while Jared Goff has 15 touchdown passes this season.

40%: Conversion rate on 3rd- and 4th-and 1 – worst in the NFL

The Lions overall third-down conversion rate is dragged down by their failures on third- and fourth-and-short. Their 40% conversion rate with one yard to go in those situations is 26% below the league average. They are one of the better teams in the league in third down and needing 4-6 yards (tied for 10th at 50%) and 3rd-and-long (7+ yards, eighth at 30.2%).

15: Sacks allowed – 4th fewest in the NFL

The Lions feature a strong offensive line, although their center Frank Ragnow may have to miss Sunday’s game with a toe injury. Guard Evan Brown would move to center in his absence, with Dan Skipper (6-9, 330) the likely candidate to move in from tackle to replace Brown at right guard. They have two good bookends in right tackle Penei Sewell and left tackle Taylor Decker, with Jonah Jackson at left guard. According to PFF, the Lions have allowed a 314% pressure rate this year, which is the ninth-worst in the NFL.

-2: Turnover Ratio – 9th worst in the NFL

QB Jared Goff: He has had a strong season, completing 63.8% of his passes for 2277 yards with 15 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. Goff ranks second in 20+ yard completions in the NFL with 36, trailing only Patrick Mahomes. Nearly 54% of Goff’s yards come after the catch, which ranks 10th, according to Pro Football Focus. According to PFF, on passes that travel more than 20 yards in the air this season, Goff is just 7-of-30 for 203 yards with two touchdowns, two interceptions and a 57.5 quarterback rating.

WR Amon-Ra St. Brown: Despite missing a game due to injury, St. Brown has 23 more catches and 161 more yards than the Lions’ next wide receiver. He has 49 catches for 518 yards and three touchdowns. He does not have blazing speed, but he is a smart route technician with the quickness to separate and soft hands to catch the football. He is Jared Goff’s go-to player in the short and intermediate levels of the defense. He plays in the slot just as often as he plays outside, which could make him a matchup for Darnay Holmes or Adoree’ Jackson.

RB D’Andre Swift: Swift has only played in six games and has been limited to 40 carries due to ankle and shoulder injuries that kept him out of the lineup from Weeks 4-7. Since returning, his usage has been limited with only 14 carries in his last three games. He is still the Lions’ most explosive player averaging 6.33 yards per carry with two runs of 40+ yards and two rushing scores. Swift has been active in the passing game when he is on the field, with 17 catches for 150 yards and two touchdowns. Jamaal Williams was effective when Swift was out and has become the early-down back, with 604 yards on 142 carries and nine rushing touchdowns.

Keys for the Giants’ defense

  1. Win on the interior of the line of scrimmage in the run and pass game
  2. Don’t let Amon-Ra St. Brown dominate the passing game
  3. Tackle well to prevent big plays in the run game and on short passes

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