Are the Lions for real? Bob Wojnowski, John Niyo and Justin Rogers look at the Lions as they roll into Week 5 against the Carolina Panthers at Ford Field. Detroit News
Justin Rogers, James Hawkins, John Niyo and Bob Wojnowski predict the outcome of Sunday's game at Ford Field (1 p.m. FOX/760).
Justin Rogers: The Panthers' offense got rolling against the Patriots, and their option-based play-action offense can really stress a defense. But the biggest problem is they've been turning it over too much, which plays into the Lions' opportunistic defense's hands. Lions 19-16
James Hawkins: The Panthers have managed to win despite one of the league’s worst turnover margins and Cam Newton’s favorite target Greg Olsen on the IR. That recipe for success won’t work against the Lions’ opportunistic defense, which will come through once again and find a way to frustrate Newton. Lions 24-17
John Niyo: This one feels like a trap game for the Lions, particularly now that Carolina finally found a spark offensively. But it also feels like a game where Matthew Stafford finally can find some more success through the air against a depleted secondary. Lions 28-24
Bob Wojnowski: The Lions defense has been a revelation so far, but this is a unique test. Cam Newton found his legs and his accuracy in a victory at New England, and the Panthers are starting to look like the NFC contender they were expected to be. Matthew Stafford and the offense haven’t put together a complete game yet, and it’ll be needed in this one. Rookie runner Christian McCaffrey creates problems, and Carolina pulls it out in the fourth quarter. Panthers 23-20