Detroit News scouting report: Colts at Lions

Rod Beard
The Detroit News

Colts at Lions

Kickoff: 1 Sunday, Ford Field, Detroit

TV/radio: CBS/760 AM

Records: Colts 4-2, Lions 3-3

Line: Colts by 2

Rod Beard of The Detroit News breaks down the Lions’ Week 8 matchup with the Indianapolis Colts:

Matthew Stafford (9) reacts with Marvin Jones Jr. after a touchdown against the Green Bay Packers during the game Sept. 20.

Key matchup


After coasting through most of the season with mediocre production, Matthew Stafford broke out for his best game of the season, with 340 yards on a season-high 25 completions. When it counted, Stafford was stellar on the final drive, with three clutch completions to set up the final play, an 11-yard touchdown pass to T.J. Hockenson.

That’s the Stafford that the Lions need to see more of — and before the fourth quarter. The Lions will have to find more opportunities for deep chances and look to get both Marvin Hall and Marvin Jones involved more.

The Colts lead the league with 10 interceptions and as sturdy as they are against the run, they’ll force the Lions into tough situations if the Lions’ running game doesn’t create some short-yardage opportunities and keep Stafford out of predictable passing down-and-distance situations.

Subscribers: Detroit News predictions: Lions vs. Colts

Colts to watch

Jonathan Taylor, RB: The rookie has been thrust into the leading role after the season-ending injury to Marlon Mack in the opener. Taylor has fit in nicely, with 367 yards and three touchdowns, including 101 yards against the Vikings in week 2. He’s also become a weapon in the passing game, with 16 catches for 162 yards

Philip Rivers, QB: He’s not quite the passing threat that he was in his 16 seasons with the Chargers, but Rivers can still get the job done, with a career-high in accuracy (69.7 percent). Rivers is coming off his best game this season: 371 yards and three touchdowns in the victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in week 6, before the Colts’ bye last week.

DeForest Buckner, DT: The former first-round pick from the San Francisco 49ers in 2016 anchors the Colts’ front, which is one of the best in the league. The Colts traded for Buckner in March and have reaped the benefits. Buckner had a career-high 12 sacks in ’18 and has 2.5 this season and is tied for the team high with four tackles for loss.

More: Lions have a tall order facing Colts' 'super strong defense'

Facts and figures

►Rivers has been sacked just five times this season, a testament to the job the offensive line has done in protecting him and opening opportunities in the passing game. By comparison, the defense has made 12 sacks.

►The Lions have just four turnovers this season, with no fumbles lost. That mark ranks third in the league; the Colts have seven turnovers, which is seventh. Each team is plus-3 in turnover margin.

►Adrian Peterson has rushed for at least one touchdown against 27 teams in the NFL. The only remaining teams are the Colts, Ravens, Vikings, 49ers and Jets. He’ll look to cross Indianapolis off that list, which would make him one of just six players with a rushing touchdown against 28 teams.

Twitter: @detnewsRodBeard