Detroit Lions enter bye week with more questions than answers

Heading into their bye week, the Detroit Lions are 3-3

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Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions throws the ball during the first half of a game against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on October 15, 2017 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

DETROIT - The Detroit Lions are probably what we thought they were: mediocre.

Heading into their bye week, the Detroit Lions are 3-3 and coming off two pretty bad losses to the Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints.

That Lions team that fans were excited about after their first two weeks seems to have left the building. The defense has folded, allowing teams to score at will - and the team's offensive line can't protect its quarterback.

Through six weeks, here's where the Detroit Lions stand in key statistical categories:

Offense:

  • 26th in yards per game (298).
  • 29th in yards per play (4.6).
  • 7th in points per game (26.8).
  • 15th in 3rd down conversions (40 percent).
  • 26th in total rushing yards, 28th in rushing yards per game.
  • 16th in total passing yards, 21st in passing yards per game.
  • Most sacks allowed in NFL (23).

Defense:

  • 15th in yards allowed per game (338).
  • 7th in points allowed per game (24.8).
  • 25th in 3rd down defense (35 percent).
  • 2nd in interceptions (9), 1st in interceptions returned for touchdown (3).
  • 18th in sacks (13).
  • 1st in pass deflections (43).

As you can see, it's a mixed bag. The Lions cannot sustain an offense while allowing the most sacks in the NFL, on top of a bottom-of-the-league rushing attack.

With Aaron Rodgers possibly done for the year, the Lions have as good a chance as they've had to win the NFC North. 

Here are four questions the Lions must answer after the bye week:

Can the offensive line protect Matthew Stafford?

The loss of Taylor Decker has been even bigger than most predicted. Greg Robinson is not a started NFL tackle and Matthew Stafford has paid the price. 

The Lions quarterback has been sacked 23 times - and hit many, many other times. He's dealt with multiple injuries, all while continuing to play.

The Lions must find help on the line while they await the possible return of Taylor Decker. 

Will Jim Bob Cooter open up the playbook?

The Lions offensive coordinator has faced some criticism as of late for being too predictable on offense. This isn't even just pundits saying it - Cooter himself admitted it last week.

It's pretty sad when the play-by-play guy predicts your offensive play before the ball is snapped. If Chris Spielman knows what you're running - you know the opposing defense does, as well.

The Lions need to shake up the playbook and get the offense moving a bit. 

Is Matthew Stafford healthy enough to play - and play well?

We've all seen what healthy Matthew Stafford looks like - and we've seen what injured Matthew Stafford looks like.

Look no further than last year, when Stafford hurt a finger on his throwing hand but played anyway - his numbers were lackluster and the Lions turned the ball over more often than not.

Stafford is dealing with at least an ankle injury, but with the hits he's been taking, it's easy to assume he's feeling sore all over.

Can Teryl Austin get the defense back in shape?

Through the first two weeks of the season, the Lions defense looked unstoppable. The team lead the league in takeaways and was putting heavy pressure on opposing quarterbacks.

Since then, the Lions pass rush has been non-existent and the team's secondary is getting picked apart by quarterbacks.

Injuries haven't helped the defense, with rookie Jarrad Davis missing time with a concussion and defensive tackle Haloti Ngata being placed in IR.

The Lions need A'Shawn Robinson to step up, as well as Miles Killebrew and Darius Slay, with injuries to Glover Quinn and Tavon Wilson.

The Lions will return from their bye week with two big games: Sunday night at home against the Steelers, followed by a Monday night matchup in Green Bay, against the Aaron Rodgers-less Packers.

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