NFL Week 5 Game Preview: Detroit Lions at New England Patriots

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"Gillette Stadium, Foxborough-Game Day" by Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0.

Two teams looking for some momentum and consistency will square off at Gillette Stadium on Sunday
afternoon, as the Detroit Lions visit the New England Patriots. The Lions were involved in a shootout last
week at home against the Seattle Seahawks, and came up just short in a 48-45 defeat. New England was
also locked in a tight battle last week on the road against the Green Bay Packers, but ended up falling in
overtime, 27-24.
We’ll examine a few things to look out for in this interconference matchup.


Zappe-ing Life Into The Patriots Offense


There was not much optimism surrounding the Patriots last week against the heavily favored Packers.
New England was without starting quarterback Mac Jones due to a high ankle sprain, and lost veteran
backup Brian Hoyer early in the game due to a concussion. In the moment, it felt like things were going
from bad to worse, as the team would be forced to turn to rookie signal caller Bailey Zappe.
It was not the doom and gloom scenario many would have predicted with the first year player under
center. The offense struggled mightily before Hoyer went down, and to be fair, the veteran has not been
a viable option for a long time, despite his institutional knowledge of the Patriots’ operation. Zappe
demonstrated some admirable poise in a difficult situation. His numbers did not light up the scoreboard,
but he did throw for a touchdown and completed 66 percent of his passes.
If Jones and Hoyer remain sidelined for the Detroit game, look for Zappe to play the role of game
manager again on Sunday.


The Resurgence Of Jared Goff


After he received a lucrative contract extension from the Los Angeles Rams, Jared Goff’s perception
changed around the league. Despite having made a Super Bowl in his career, he was viewed as someone
who was not worthy of the compensation that he signed up to receive.
While it is true that Goff’s paycheck might be inflated, and that there are some better options than him
around the league at quarterback, the sullying of his ability appears to have been overblown. When
given the time to deliver passes downfield, Goff is still a viable player, as he has shown so far this
season.
Even with his weapons inconsistently available due to injury, the former number one overall pick is
getting it done. He is currently third in the NFL in passing yards, and is tied for the league lead in passing
touchdowns.


Loser Leaves Town?


Even though there’s still a long way to go in the NFL season, the loser of this game would be put in a
difficult position to compete for the postseason. Both the Lions and the Patriots enter this game with a
record of 1-3, and dropping to four losses with teams that are markedly better than them in their
division would be a tough challenge to overcome.
As a result, both coaching staffs might decide to pull out all the stops in order to win this game.