Even though they’re last in their divisions, the Detroit Lions and Jacksonville Jaguars are feeling pretty good about themselves right now.
The Lions (3-4) totaled 415 yards against one of the NFL’s better defenses last week. The Jaguars (1-6) held one of the league’s top offenses to a season-low 238 yards.
Both teams would like to build on those performances today.
“Definitely one of our better offensive games of the year,” Lions quarterback Matt Stafford said. “We played well as a team and got a little bit of momentum going. But we’ve got to capitalize and do it more than once. That’s kind of something that we’ve been struggling with this year is putting two really good games back to back, so hopefully we can be ready to go this weekend and do a little bit more of the same.”
Turning a corner
That would have seemed like a slam dunk against Jacksonville before last week. The Jaguars hadn’t done much on defense, giving up nearly 415 yards a game and getting little pressure on quarterbacks.
But coach Mike Mularkey’s team may have turned a corner in a 24-15 loss at Green Bay. Even though the Packers played without top receivers Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson, the Jaguars were feisty from start to finish and looked much like the unit that finished sixth in the league last season.
And they did it short-handed.
The Jaguars were without safety Dwight Lowery as well as starting cornerbacks Derek Cox and Rashean Mathis.
Nonetheless, Jacksonville played its best defensive game of the season. The Jaguars sacked Aaron Rodgers twice and limited Green Bay to 5 of 13 on third down.
“We hate moral victories, but I’d have to say that was one of them,” cornerback Aaron Ross said. “Progress is always good. As long as we’re going on the up, it’s always good as a defensive unit.”
But can the Jaguars do it again? At home? Jacksonville has been outscored 95-20 in three home losses, getting blown out by Houston, Cincinnati and Chicago.
And the Lions are coming off one of their better offensive showings.
Stafford completed 34 of 49 passes for 352 yards, with three touchdowns and an interception.
He also ran for a score in the 28-24 win over Seattle. And his receiving corps was far from a one-man show.
Titus Young caught nine passes for 100 yards and two scores, tight end Brandon Pettigrew added seven receptions for 74 yards and rookie Ryan Broyles hauled in his second touchdown of the season.
More important, the Lions allowed no sacks, had just one turnover and turned all three red-zone trips into touchdowns.