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Ndamukong Suh's Sack List
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Lions vs Steelers - Pregame Week-5

Though no word is out whether Detroit Lions quarterback, Matthew Stafford is playing or not, I do not expect him to be ready. So Daunte Culpepper with only a week of first team snaps will have to face the toughest defense the Lions have yet to face.

When the Lions have the ball...
With Culpepper not having much regular season action, we can expect the already aggressive Steelers defense to step it up a notch. They will show us why the better defenses like to blitz. The Lions will need to counter this by using a lot of quick dumps to Kevin Smith and Brandon Pettigrew. This will not be enough. They will need to use a lot of quick slants as well, but that is something the Lions have a history of staying away from. If they use the quick slant more than two times I will be shocked. Until they force the Steelers defense to back off a little, there will not be enough time for plays to develop and that will keep Calvin Johnson from playing a big part.

When Steelers have the ball....
Mendenhall showed last week why they drafted him and the world expects him to light up the Lions defense. He will likely break away for one long one, but other than that, the Lions will hold him down for the most part. The Lions have shown they can stop the run this year. It is the pass that still seems to be beyond the Detroit defense's comprehension. Roethlisburger is one of the best at avoiding pressure and the only way the Lions will get to him is to blitz. Last week the Lions blitzed around eight times in the first half and not one of the longer gains came from being burnt on the blitz. The Lions have shown this year that they will be burnt far more often while NOT blitzing than when they are blitzing. Somehow I doubt they have learned that lesson yet though.

Things to watch....

Pay attention to the Lions special teams this week. They signed the hard hitting rookie Zach Follett from the practice squad in hopes of injecting some life into the special teams. This guy can light someone up. If he gets a hard hit on the returner early, it could add life to some of the other players as well.

It will be interesting to see if Culpepper will take some chances down field if he gets the time to throw. In the preseason he gained the reputation for not taking chances down field. I think he was a victim of play calling and if given the chance he will want to prove his worth.

If the Steelers do blitz a lot, it would not surprise me to see the Lions use Aaron Brown more to counter the pressure. His speed on the draw plays and screens could force the Steelers defense to back off quicker than Kevin Smiths hard running style would.

Look at the stands. Many expect the stadium to be nearly 40% Steelers fans. I would expect more in the lines of 30% but it will be enough to see virtual seas of black and yellow.

The Lions are looking improved over last season. There are vast improvements in run defense and offensive rushing. They are in no way ready to beat a Pittsburgh Steelers team.

Steelers - 30
Lions ---- 20

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