Our 'Five Questions' segment took a hiatus last week when the Giants faced the Seattle Seahawks. It is back this week with the Giants preparing to face the Detroit Lions n what might be called the 'Turnover Bowl,' since these are the two most turnover-prone teams in the league.
Sean Yuille of SB Nation's Pride of Detroit answered our questions. Let's see what he had to say.
Ed: I am reading and hearing a lot about Jim Schwartz getting fired if the Lions miss the playoffs. What has gone wrong, and what is your opinion of Schwartz?
Sean: Much like last year, the Lions just haven't been able to finish games and put together four complete quarters in the second half of the season. Despite basically having the NFC North presented to them on a silver platter, the Lions haven't been able to take advantage and now find themselves needing help just to have a chance at winning the division. Turnovers and a general lack of focus have contributed to their problems, and I think that all goes back to Jim Schwartz. These issues are nothing new, and I'm personally more than ready for a coaching change.
Ed: What is your thinking on Matthew Stafford? Sometimes he looks like a star and at other times he looks like a kid quarterbacking the high school JV team.
Sean: He's definitely an inconsistent quarterback. His mechanics have been a big topic of conversation for a couple years now, and we just recently examined how his footwork is contributing to his accuracy problems. The alarming thing is that the coaches don't seem to think a problem exists, which simply reinforces my view that something needs to change. Assuming a new coach is brought in, the No. 1 priority should be fixing Stafford, because he certainly has the potential; he just hasn't reached it on a consistent basis yet.
Ed: Who are a couple of lesser-known players on the Lions' roster who Giants' fans should watch for on Sunday?
Sean: On the offensive side of the ball, keep an eye on right guard Larry Warford. He has been playing at a Pro Bowl level this season despite being a rookie, and he has been a big part of the Lions' transformation on the offensive line.
On defense, outside linebacker DeAndre Levy isn't a well-known player by any means, but he has been an interception machine this year. Really, he's the only player on defense who can consistently force turnovers, and he could end up with one on Sunday given the Giants' issues with giveaways.
Ed: If you could take one player off the Giants' roster and put him in the Lions' lineup who would it be? Why?
Sean: I'd have to go with Victor Cruz. The Lions don't have much talent at wide receiver outside of Calvin Johnson, and they certainly don't have a playmaker to take the focus away from him. Going into the offseason, wide receiver will be one of the Lions' biggest needs, and that seems like the early favorite for their first-round pick, so it'd be nice to have a player like Cruz lining up alongside Megatron at that position.
Ed: If you were building the game plan for the Giants how would you attack the Lions -- offensively and defensively?
Sean: The Lions' weakness on offense is turnovers. They can be very explosive, but they can also make some boneheaded plays, especially when there is pressure on Stafford. So the best course of action seems to be making him uncomfortable and hoping for a few takeaways.
Defensively, the secondary remains the weak spot for the Lions. Their run defense has been outstanding outside of the snow game in Philly, but the pass defense is not very good. I'd take deep shots early and often and hope that even if you're not completing passes, you're drawing the occasional penalty to move down the field.
Ed: These are the two most turnover-prone teams in the league. Let's set the over/under for turnovers between the teams on Sunday at eight (8). You betting over or under?
Sean: I'll take the under. The Lions haven't done a great job of forcing turnovers since early in the season, and perhaps I'm underestimating the Giants' propensity for handing out gifts, but I'm not envisioning the Lions ending up with 5 or 6 takeaways or anything like that. And as concerning as the Lions' turnover problems have been as of late, hopefully last Monday was a wake-up call for Stafford to take better care of the ball.
Thanks to Sean for his time, and his insight. Check POD for my answers to his questions, which should be posted on Friday.
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