3 things to watch for in the Detroit Lions, New England Patriots Sunday Night Football game
Patricia vs. Belichick, an offensive shootout and more
DETROIT – The Detroit Lions look to get in the win column for the first time this season as they host the New England Patriots at Ford Field for Sunday Night Football (8:20 p.m., NBC/Local 4).
Here are three things to watch for when the teams take the field.
An offensive shootout
This game has a chance to be a high-scoring shootout with how bad both the Lions and Patriots defenses have played so far this year.
In two games against the Jets and 49ers -- not exactly offensive juggernauts -- the Lions have given up 78 points. The Patriots, meanwhile, have given up 51 points to the Texans and Jaguars.
Expect Matthew Stafford and Tom Brady to both air it out early and often, especially if the Lions can't get their running game going (again).
Master vs. apprentice
The big storyline heading into this game is Lions head coach Matt Patricia going up against the man that taught him everything he has learned over his coaching career -- Bill Belichick.
Much like Nick Saban in the college game, Belichick pretty much blows the doors off all his assistant coaches when they face off against each other.
In fact, Belichick has had eight former assistant coaches find a head coaching gig in the NFL. Just one (Al Groh in 2000) owns a winning record. In head-to-head matchups, Belichick is 14-8.
Rob Gronkowski vs. Jarrad Davis
I originally would have put "Josh Gordon vs. a depleted secondary," but Gordon is not a sure thing to play this week, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, so the Patriot's star tight end vs. the Lion's second-year linebacker is my next choice.
Davis struggled against the pass in Week 1, but actually turned in a solid outing in Week 2. It will be interesting to see how he fares against one of the top tight ends in the game, especially since he is Brady's favorite target at the moment with wide receiver Julian Edelman still suspended.
Gronkowski was limited to two catches for 15 yards last week, but he was being covered by star cornerback Jalen Ramsey for most of the game. With an opportunity to make some noise against inconsistent coverage from Davis, I would expect Brady and Gronkowski to take advantage.
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