Rob Rubick: Lions must establish run

By: Rob Rubick
Ford Lions Report Live Analyst

Offensive Keys

Believe it or not, Arizona is the fifth-rated pass defense in the league. That being said, stats can be misleading.

Teams have been able to run the ball pretty successfully against them. The Lions running game has picked up in the last few weeks, in my opinion because of Joique Bell.

Bell has been good and Mikel Leshoure has been okay and I like the scheme that the Lions have been running.

With Riley Reiff coming in with the heavy set, they've been able to run the ball and that should continue this week.

Arizona's defense can be difficult.

Linebacker Daryl Washington is a stud. He's got 10 sacks in the past 14 games, so he's a guy that they like to bring pressure with and Kerry Rhodes is a ball-hawk in the secondary.

If you can run the ball, you can neutralize Washington and keep Rhodes from running free and reading Stafford's eyes.

Against these teams that do not defend the run well, you have to come out and establish the run.

Defensive Keys

Arizona is a Jekyll and Hyde team offensively. You don't know what team you're going to get.

They have some personnel, that starts and finishes with Larry Fitzgerald.

He is a top 5 receiver in this league. I put him up with the Andre Johnson and Calvin Johnson, in that same league.

Andre Roberts is having a big year opposite of him as well and has been able to take advantage of all the double coverage that Fitzgerald gets and he's put up career numbers.

But it starts and stops with Fitzgerald. You have to take him out of the game and make them try and run the football.

Detroit has to be a little more consistent against the run this week.

Last week the Lions played well for 95% of the time but that 5% where they give up big plays kills them.

Defensively this is a game the Lions should look pretty good and Arizona shouldn't be able to throw or run the ball against them.

I look for the Lions to come out of this game with a win and it's important they do. You don't want to go into the offseason on a losing streak and if they can win a few before the end of the year it can build some confidence going into next year. You don't want to end the season on an eight game losing streak, that gets coaches fired.

Johnson chases Rice

Calvin Johnson will absolutely stay on pace to break Jerry Rice's record.

Johnson will be as big a part of the game plan as he always is and if Arizona follows suit with the rest of the NFL and plays the cover-2, you'll see Johnson catching a lot of the six and eight yard passes and hopefully pop some of them for big gains.

The deep balls just won't be there and you have to be patient. If you feed Calvin enough, he will break one for 20 or 25 yards and get his numbers.

Rob Rubick joins Tom Leyden and Herman Moore on the Ford Lions Report Live every Sunday at 11 am throughout the season. You can follow Rob on Twitter @RRubick




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