Bet on lots of points when Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars meet Sunday
By MARK LONG
AP Pro Football Writer
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Take the over.
Detroit and Jacksonville have two of the NFL’s worst defenses, unable to stop anyone, anywhere, any week. The Lions (1-3) rank last in the league in rushing yards allowed, giving up more than 170 yards a game. The Jaguars (1-4) are near the bottom of every major defensive category, including 30th in total yards and last in yards per play.
The teams are among a group of seven allowing more than 400 yards and about 30 points a game.
So when they meet in Jacksonville Sunday for the first time in eight years, it should be an ideal matchup for a high-scoring affair. And the smart money appears to be on the over. The over/under opened at 52 1/2 total points.
The Lions spent their bye week trying to address their defensive woes.
“We’re working hard to try to make sure that there is consistency,” coach Matt Patricia said.
Problem is there’s more than one area of concern. Detroit has seen different guys missing tackles and assignments and failing to shed blocks in every game.
“We have to do a better job in the run game, and we have to settle some things down there that have hurt us and play with better fundamentals and technique and just be consistent,” Patricia said.
Jacksonville plans a heavy dose of rookie James Robinson, who is averaging nearly 5 yards a carry. Robinson has been one of the few bright spots on a team that has given up 30 or more points in four consecutive losses.
The Jaguars have been downright dismal on defense with injuries forcing first- and second-year players into the starting lineup.
Stafford shut out
Matthew Stafford has thrown 264 touchdown passes since Detroit drafted him No. 1 overall in 2009.
The Jaguars, though, are the only team that Stafford has not thrown for a score against. He would like to end the drought in his third game against them.
“Yeah, that’d be great,” he said. “I’d love to have that on the tombstone or something.”
Adrian Peterson is averaging 4.5 yards a carry in his 14th season, drawing praise from Jaguars defensive coordinator Todd Wash. Wash still remembers facing Peterson as Seattle’s D-line coach in 2012, when the Minnesota star ran 17 times for 182 yards and two touchdowns.
“When we flipped the tape on Monday afternoon, I was like, ‘Damn, he’s still running like he did when he was 22 years old,'” Wash said. “He still has his unbelievable jump cut. I think it was nine years ago we played him in Seattle and I think he’s still running somewhere in Mexico.”