The Detroit Lions, who set an NFL record with 30 losses over the previous two seasons, are off to a 2-5 start in 2010. They're a young team in rebuilding mode and on paper this is an outfit the Jets should handle Sunday in the Motor City. But the Lions cannot be taken lightly.
"I call this a trap game for us," CB Darrelle Revis told newyorkjets.com.
The young Lions play well and are an explosive club at Ford Field. Owners of a 2-1 home mark, they are averaging 38 points in games played in Michigan.
"I'm from Detroit and I had a chance to spend some time with those guys in the offseason," said WR Braylon Edwards. "They have a little attitude, a new direction, so we can't go in there as if we're facing the Lions of old. This is the NFL and we have to go in and prepare for a team that's playing much better."
Wideout Calvin Johnson, an amazing physical specimen at 6'5, 236 pounds, has eight receiving touchdowns and just torched the Redskins for three scores in a 37-25 Detroit win on Sunday.
"He's physical," said the 5'11", 198-pound Revis. "I think he might be taller than Randy Moss [6'4"]. He might be the tallest receiver we've faced this year and he can run — he's blazing."
Quarterback Matt Stafford, who was selected No. 1 overall in the 2009 draft, four picks ahead of Mark Sanchez, shook off some rust last week while returning to the field for the first time since separating his right shoulder in Week 1. He ended up throwing four TD passes in the victory, but he'll be challenged this week by a blitz-happy defense that specializes in overloads.
It will be interesting to see how the Jets decide to cover Johnson because they have two No. 1 corners and Antonio Cromartie has very good size himself at 6'2", 210. But "Megatron" promises to be a handful.
"Be physical back with him," said Revis when asked about how you approach covering Johnson. "Don't give him free access down the field, jam him up and stay on top of him."
With the Patriots continuing their winning ways, now is not the time for Jets to start a losing streak. Fans can bemoan the shutout loss to the Packers, but the Jets were done with Green Bay after film review on Monday.
"We have to do that right now. We watched the film, got the corrections," Revis said. "Even with a win, you just have to throw them aside and move on to the next opponent because these weeks come up fast on you."
While video review was painful for the offense, the Jets probably didn't have a ton of corrections to make defensively. They held a good Packers offense to 13 first downs and 237 yards, Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers connected on just 44 percent of his 34 pass attempts and the Pack was a woeful 2-for-14 on third down.
"That was one of our keys," said Revis of the third-down efficiency. "Coach Pettine really stressed that last week. We played very well on third down pretty much the whole game."
The Lions are feeling good about their own defense — particularly their active front four. Detroit racked up seven sacks against the 'Skins with DEs Cliff Avril and Kyle Vanden Bosch as well as rookie DT Ndamukong Suh picking up two apiece. Suh, who was selected No. 2 overall out of Nebraska in April, has been nothing short of sensational to start his pro career with 6.5 sacks, one interception, and a 17-yard fumble-return TD to seal their latest win.
"I think that he's good against the run, he's good against the pass," said Lions head coach Jim Schwartz of Suh in the Detroit Free Press. "I think the one thing that might be a little ... I don't want to say unrealistic because he can play very well, but his sack numbers are incredible for a defensive tackle."
The Jets have had their ball-security problems of late and the Lions are an aggressive defense that has collected 17 takeaways. No longer a laughingstock, they've lost by no more than eight points in four of their five losses and they'll be a confident club come Sunday. The Lions are looking for their third win in four games overall and third straight at home. After falling to the Cheeseheads, the Jets must avoid the cheese this week and stay out of the trap.
Revis has already spotted it from miles away.