Patriots: Our first look at the Detroit Lions

By Mason Sousa

The Lions have the No. 1 scoring offense through 4 games which is incredible considering they don’t have close to the world talent at the skills positions that are on other rosters.  As wild as that may sound for a team that hasn’t won a playoff game in over 30 years their defense at the same time is dead last in points allowed.  They have scored 140+ points AND allowed 140+ points through the first four games of the season and are the first team to ever accomplish such a feat.  When you predict a game to be a “shootout” this Detroit Lions team fits that description perfectly as a team that would be in such a game.  One might say it’s a perfect scenario for rookie quarterback Bailey Zappe to start his career and have success moving the ball this Sunday in Week 5.


Currently speaking there is only one healthy QB on the Patriots 53-man roster and that’s the 4th rounder from Western Kentucky Bailey Zappe.  While Mac Jones logged his first official practice this week, albeit a limited participant since his injury late in the Baltimore Ravens game, and Brian Hoyer is still recovering from what is suggested as a concussion in the Green Bay game, all signs are pointing to Zappe donning the Pat Patriot red and leading the charge this week.

After 10 years Pat Patriot returns.  It’ll be quite a nostalgic sight for Patriots fans and perhaps the dawn of a new day depending on how Zappe and the Patriots perform.  NOW… I’m not anywhere saying there is Quarterback controversy or even competition for that matter at this point in time.  But depending on how long Mac Jones is out for and how well Bailey Zappe handles the offense and limits turnovers…. it won’t be too far fetched to at least start the discussion…

Until that day comes we’ll see if Zappe can get through a full game as the starter never mind exceed the play of Jones.

It was a solid career debut for Zappe.  In fact he became the only player in NFL history to debut on the road in Lambeau and throw a TD pass.  That place has been around for a while so it’s a neat little stat to hold onto, however it won’t mean much if he can’t follow it up against a lesser NFC North opponent.

The Lions haven’t been putting on a red light this season.  They’ve been seeing green through 4 games on both sides of the ball.  Everything is fast and furious for their offense and on the flip side the opponents offense is gaining a lot of green as well.  As mentioned before, Detroit is first in scoring offense and last in scoring defense.  The last team to claim that was the 1999 Super Bowl winning ‘Greatest Show on Turf’ St. Louis Rams.

I’m not saying the Lions are winning it all this year or even winning a playoff game for that matter, but putting up 45 points in Week 4 without two of your top offensive players in D’Andre Swift and Amon-Ra St. Brown should not be overlooked.  They aren’t biting kneecaps as head coach Dan Campbell would say they are going for the jugular every time the offense has the ball.

The Lions have a league best 5.9 PER rush.  Veteran OT Taylor Decker and 2nd year OT Penei Sewell have been fantastic in the run game and have kept a clean pocket for Jared Goff.  Center Frank Ragnow is also a force, a player the Patriots were highly interested in back in the 2018 NFL Draft, but is dealing with a foot injury and may be hobbled in Week 5.

The Lions offense is LEGIT.

And that is a sentence not heard in quite some time.  They’re fearless and have nothing to lose (except another losing season) but besides that they throw everything including the kitchen sink like fake punts at their own 35 yard line in the 1st Quarter of games which in turn has Bill Belichick describing Lions punter Jack Fox as “a weapon”.  Johnny Hekker now has company in the punter praise from Belichick.

Detroit has A LOT of players on the injury report though.  In fact SIX skill players alone “did not participate” in Wednesday’s practice including their 3 best offensive players (Swift, Hockenson, and St. Brown)

If T.J Hockenson is out or even less than 100% that is massive for this Patriots defense.  He had a huge game in Week 4 against Seattle and the best stat line from a Tight End so far this year with 8 catches, 179 yards, and 2 Touchdowns.  He’s surprisingly elusive for his size.  Hockenson can take a 10 yard catch and get up the sideline for a huge gain like he did on a 81 yard plays against the Seahawks last week.  The Lions are a big play team and he’s a big play player.

It’s still unclear if Jared Goff’s favorite target Amon-Ra St. Brown will be ready to play after missing Week 4 but that is a receiver with a CHIP on his shoulder looking to punish every team that didn’t take him in the 2021 NFL Draft.

You root for the underdog except when he’s playing your team.  Maybe St. Brown can sit out this week also before he attempts to go scorched earth on the Patriots secondary.  If not, I believe Jonathan Jones should have that task to try to limit the impressive slot receiver.  Jones looked shaky in Green Bay and maybe he gets ‘demoted’ to the slot while Jack Jones who was very impressive in his first career start takes on an outside Lions receiver.

One of the things that concerns me the most is what the Patriots will do with Isaiah Wynn on the offensive line.  He has struggled mightily at the Right Tackle position and was benched in Green Bay for the returning Marcus Cannon.  If Wynn gets another chance or is succeeded by Cannon there’s a player who’s vying for rookie defensive player of the year Aiden Hutchinson waiting for them.  6’7” and 264 pounds Hutchinson has only played in 2 games and in one of them (his NFL debut) he amassed 3 sacks.  He’s a force and needs to be accounted for possibly with a 6th offensive lineman if Jonnu Smith is going to miss sometime with an ankle injury.


Welcome back Jamie Collins. His 4th stint with the New England Patriots has begun as he was signed to the practice squad earlier this week and has been assigned the #99 to wear.  One of the fears of this season was no other linebacker aside from Matthew Judon we’re going to elevate their game this year.  While we saw some good things from

Josh Uche and Anfernee Jennings in the preseason they just haven’t been consistent so far in this young season.  Bringing Collins back to have that veteran mind in the group should be beneficial and if he’s even half as athletic as he was in his prime that should benefit the team.  While it’s unsure if he will be active and ready for gameday his football IQ and ability would be a huge asset for a team looking for their 2nd win.

Running back Jamaal Williams already has an impressive 6 rushing touchdowns on only 276 yards this year.  He’s a big goal line back that is taking advantage of every carry inside the 5 yard line and a huge reason for the team leading the league in points.  Lawrence Guy is still nursing a shoulder injury and his absence has been felt at times with the Patriots opponents rattling off big runs over the last couple weeks.  If he can make it back it’ll make a huge difference in the run game.  If not, Davon Godchaux and Christian Barrmore are going to need to step their game up if the Lions rush is going to get slowed down.

And finally, I’m not saying.

But I’m just saying.

Tom Brady made his career debut against the Detroit Lions 22 years ago.

In 2010, Tom Brady put on the Pat Patriot uniform against the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving and finished the game with a perfect passer rating (1 of his 3 career perfect passer rating games).

This Sunday, Bailey Zappe will be wearing the rare Pat Patriot red again and is expected to make his starting debut against the Detroit Lions.

I’m just saying….


Bailey Zappe throws 3 TD passes all to different Patriots and doesn’t turn the ball over.


All systems go. Throw throw throw.

Bailey Zappe plays safe and well.  I don’t think he’s going to be setting any records and that might largely be in part of the possible gameplan idea of a “soft launch” for the rookie.  Take what that Swiss cheese Lions defense gives you and attack all day long because we know that’s what the Detroit offense will try to do.

But I believe this the first time the Lions get held in check.  The Patriots defense, I’m predicting, will show the most resistance out of any of the Lions opponents this year.  A 1-3 start is not wear you want to be and 1-4 is even more dire.  Harris and Stevenson should both have plenty of success on the ground themselves leading to a New England victory. FINAL SCORE: PATRIOTS 30 LIONS 20