Patriots Scouting Report: Diverse Lions running game could pose problems

The Detroit Lions have the NFL’s number one offense and much of that is a byproduct of one of the league’s top rushing attacks.

Detroit blends an old school and new school approach when running the football. Head coach Dan Campbell wants to be physical and the best way to do it is by pounding the rock.

The Lions are patient when it comes to their running game. They will run the football at any point in a game regardless of down and distance or situation. They will put the Patriots defense on their heels today as a result of that.

Detroit does a good job of blending man-gap scheme with zone schemes. They will run power, counter and toss but mix in outside and inside zone as well. It is all about getting downhill and Detroit does that well.

Here the Lions run a wham influence trap. They trap with three different blockers which clouds the linebackers reads.

Diagram 1: Wham Influence Trap

The Lions complement their man-gap run game with inside and outside zone. Here they get three vertical double team blocks and bump it to the inside backers. They get a good push and it results in a ten yard gain.

Diagram 2: Midzone Blunt

The Lions do a good job of using misdirection as well. As you see here, they will run Counter Y. That complements their man-gap and zone running game well.

Diagram 3: Counter Y

The Lions running game is good. Detroit has good players. They are also well coached. Offensive coordinator Ben Johnson and offensive line coach Hank Fraley do a great job of scheming up the run game. The Patriots will have their hands full today.