Chiefs Opponent Preview: Get to Know the Detroit Lions

The Detroit Lions (1-6) head into Sunday's matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs (2-5) with a new offensive play caller in quarterbacks coach-turned offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter, who was promoted just this week after the former offensive coordinator was fired right before the team left for London earlier this week.

The team also fired its offensive line coach, as well as two offensive line assistants.

Cooter, who spent the 2012 season with the Chiefs as an offensive quality control coach, has never called plays at the NFL level in his seven seasons.

The Lions felt like a move was needed as they are currently tied for the worst record in the NFL with the Baltimore Ravens. 

Lions Coaching Staff

Position

Name

Head Coach

Jim Caldwell

Offensive Coordinator

Jim Bob Cooter

Defensive Coordinator

Teryl Austin

Special Team's Coordinator

Joe Marciano

Offensively, the Lions are led by quarterback Matthew Stafford, who is completing the highest percentage of his passes in his career thus far in 2015 (65 percent) but has also tossed 9 interceptions, which is only surpassed by Peyton Manning and Sam Bradford (they lead the league with 10).

One of the reasons for those numbers is the lack of a running game for the Lions, who average a league-worst 68 yards per game on the ground. 

Because of that, the Lions often find themselves in long-yardage situations. Take that combined with a league-worst passer rating of 49.53 against the blitz, which can happen often if you're facing a third-and-long consistently, they have turned the ball over a league-high 18 times this season as a team.

They're hoping a change at offensive coordinator and a new offensive line coach in Ron Prince, the former Kansas State coach who was previously working with their tight ends, will be enough to spark their offense this week against the Chiefs in London.

Detroit's biggest offensive weapon is arguably the most intimidating receiver in all of football, Calvin Johnson.

102915-OpponentPreview-Johnson.jpg

WR Calvin Johnson

At 6 feet 5 and 237 pounds, Johnson, aka "Megatron," is a physical mismatch in any one-on-one situation.

"No matter how good your coverage is (on Johnson), they're going to throw it up anyway," cornerback Sean Smith said. "His big plays are usually touchdowns. Just knowing that, regardless of how good you cover the situation, you have to be ready because they're going to just chuck it up.

"Contest the throws, contest the catches, all that. It's going to be a physical game."

Johnson has 574 yards receiving and 3 touchdowns on a team-high 70 targets so far this season.

Here's a look at the Lions offensive depth chart: 

Detroit Lions Offensive Depth Chart (Unofficial)

POS

FIRST

SECOND

THIRD

THIRD

WR

Golden Tate

Lance Moore

TJ Jones

LT

Riley Reiff

Corey Robinson

LG

Manny Ramirez

Laken Tomlinson

C

Travis Swanson

RG

Larry Warford

RT

LaAdrian Waddle

Cornelius Lucas

Michael Ola

TE

Brandon Pettigrew

TE

Eric Ebron

Timothy Wright

WR

Calvin Johnson

Corey Fuller

QB

Matthew Stafford

Dan Orlovsky

RB

Joique Bell

Theo Riddick

Ameer Abdullah

George Winn

FB

Michael Burton

Here's a look at the Lions numbers and ranks so far this season on offense:

Offense

Chiefs

Lions

Net Yards Per Game

346.1 (21st)

346.6 (20th)

Yards Per Play

5.49 (16th)

5.36 (21st)

Points Per Game

21.4 (21st)

19.9 (29th)

Possession Average

30:29 (12th)

28:58 (T-23rd)

Net Rushing Yards Per Game

106.3 (19th)

68.0 (32nd)

Net Passing Yards Per Game

239.9 (19th)

278.6 (7th)

Had Intercepted/Yards

3/44

10/150

Sacks Allowed/Yards

26/-145.0 (T-30th)

16/-107.0 (T-19th)

Fumbles/Lost

9/5

12/8

Third down Pct.

33.0% (27th)

37.0% (T-17th)

Red Zone TD Pct.

41.7% (27th)

66.7% (7th)

Giveaways

8 (T-8th)

18 (32nd)

Defensively, the Lions are led by third-year player Ezekiel Ansah, better known as "Ziggy."

Ansah leads the Lions with 6 sacks, which ties him for fourth-most in the NFL right now. At 6 feet 5 and 278 pounds, the Chiefs will have their hands full with the former Brigham Young University standout.

102915-OpponentPreview-Ziggy.jpg

DL Ezekiel Ansah

"Well, not only did he go to the greatest university in the country, but he's a good football player," Chiefs coach Andy Reid, also a BYU alum, said on Wednesday. "He's a good kid too—great story and you're watching him mature as we go here. 

"He's caught our eye, I think he's probably caught everybody's eye in the National Football League. He's putting together a pretty good year. So we'll know where he is. He's not the only one they have, so you've got to make sure you've got them all covered, but he's playing at a very high level right now."

One of the guys who might be tasked with covering Ansah along the Chiefs offensive line is veteran Jeff Allen, who is ready for the challenge of playing a great young player. 

"He's freakishly athletic," Allen said of Ansah. "He does some things that a lot of people can't do. That's something that's very special in this league because a lot of guys are athletic, but he's at a different level.

"He has a high motor and can rush the passer really well, long arms—he's good in the run game. You just have to be physical with him and give yourself a chance."

Here's a look at the Lions defensive depth chart:

Detroit Lions Defensive Depth Chart (Unofficial)

POS

FIRST

SECOND

THIRD

DE

Jason Jones

Darryl Tapp

DT

Caraun Reid

Gabe Wright

Andre Fluellen

DT

Haloti Ngata

Jermelle Cudjo

Khyri Thornton

DE

Ezekiel Ansah

Devin Taylor

OLB

Tahir Whitehead

Kyle Van Noy

Brandon Copeland

MLB

Stephen Tulloch

Travis Lewis

OLB

DeAndre Levy

Josh Bynes

CB

Darius Slay

Josh Wilson

Quandre Diggs

CB

Rashean Mathis

Nevin Lawson

SS

James Ihedigbo

Don Carey

FS

Glover Quin

Isa Abdul-Quddus

Finally, here's a side-by-side comparison of the individual statistical leaders for both teams:

Chiefs

Lions

Passing Yards

A. Smith

1,824

M. Stafford

1,866

* *

* *

* *

D. Orlovsky

191

Rushing Yards

J. Charles

364

A. Abdullah

222

C. West

191

M. Stafford

62

A. Smith

124

Z. Zenner

60

Receiving Yards

J. Maclin

531

C. Johnson

574

T. Kelce

489

T. Riddick

318

J. Charles

177

G. Tate

318

Points Scored

C. Santos

58

M. Prater

35

J. Charles

30

C. Johnson

18

T. Kelce

14

E. Ebron

18

Interceptions

M. Peters

3

Quin

2

Three Tied

1

* *

Two Tied

1

Sacks

A. Bailey

4.5

E. Ansah

6

J. Houston

4

Two Tied

1.5

T. Hali

3

Seven Tied

1

Defensive Tackles

D. Johnson

38

S. Tulloch

56

M. Peters

35

J. Bynes

46

J. Howard

34

J. Ihedigbo

43


LAST TIME THEY MET

The Chiefs take on the Lions in Week 2 of the 2011 season

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