The Detroit Lions have spent the past couple seasons searching for replacements to what they once had.
Once upon a time, actually even as recently as 2018, they possessed a decent pass rush led by Ezekiel Ansah. Before then, linemen like Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley and Cliff Avril scared quarterbacks and offensive linemen alike.
Those guys are all gone, and have been gone.
And so far this year, it doesn’t look like Detroit’s search for replacements is over, making them a prime matchup for the Atlanta Falcons’ offensive line to capitalize on in Week 7.
DETROIT’S FRONT SEVEN
Detroit has the third-fewest sacks (six) in the league this season. In 2019, the Lions finished with 28 sacks, which tied the Falcons for second-worst.
They haven’t been great against the run, either, surrendering the fourth-most yards to opposing teams in the NFL.
Detroit runs a 4-3 defense under head coach Matt Patricia and defensive coordinator Cory Undlin. The unit’s front seven starters are:
- DE: Trey Flowers
- DT: Danny Shelton
- DT: Nick Williams
- DE: Da’Shawn Hand
- LB: Christian Jones
- LB: Jarrad Davis
- LB: Jamie Collins Sr.
Flowers and backup edge rusher Romeo Okwara are knotted for the team lead in sacks with two apiece.
The Lions’ leading tackler from the front seven is Collins Sr., who has racked up 30 total tackles.
Only Flowers was listed on this week’s injury report, but he was a full participant at Friday’s practice.
ATLANTA’S OFFENSIVE LINE
Jake Matthews, James Carpenter, Alex Mack, Chris Lindstrom and Kaleb McGary will line up from left to right. With the exception of McGary, who missed Week 3 with a knee injury, that collection of players has started every game this season.
Matthews, Mack and Lindstrom have participated in every offensive snap the Falcons have taken.
This week, Mack and Carpenter appeared on the injury report, but both were simply given “rest” days. They will play Sunday.
Through six weeks, Atlanta has allowed 13 sacks and cleared the way for its running backs to average 4 yards per carry.
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