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Nuggetpalooza’s Pats schedule preview: Detroit

08.25.10 at 10:44 am ET
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The Patriots face Detroit on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 25, at 12:30 p.m.

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What The Lions Did Well Last Season (not much):

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* – Had Lots of Long Drives: Believe it or not, the Lions were quite proficient at putting together long drives of 10 or more plays, ranking 9th in the league with 29.  They put together 17 scoring drives of 80+ yards, which accounted for 37% of all their scoring drives, which was the 2nd highest percentage in the NFL (Indianapolis, 39%).

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* – Rushed For Respectable Gains: 47.2% of Detroit’s rushes gained 4 or more yards in 2009, the 2nd highest percentage in the NFL:

48.8% – Buffalo Bills
47.2% – Detroit Lions
46.6% – Miami Dolphins

For some context, the NFL average was 42.5%.

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* – Drew Lots Of Flags On Opponents: Detroit accepted 113 penalties against their opponents last season, 2nd most in the NFL  (SF, 114).

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What The Lions Did Poorly Last Season (lots):

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* – Futile First Drives Of 2nd Half: In 16 games, the Lions managed only 7 points on their opening possession of the 2nd half.  Only Tampa Bay (3), scored fewer such points.

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* – Couldn’t Fully Cash In On All Those Long Drives: While the Lions had 29 drives of 10+ plays last season, they managed to average only 2.9 points on those drives (29th).

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* – Struggled To Limit Opponents 1st Down Success: 53% of plays run on 1st down against Detroit gained 4+ yards, the highest percentage in the league. They allowed an average of 6.4 yards per 1st down play (also worst in the NFL).

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* – Very Poor Run Defense In Late/Close Situations: The Lions allowed an NFL-worst 6.4 yards per carry last season in the 4th quarter when the score was close (within 7 points ahead or behind).  It was the 3rd worst such average allowed by an NFC team since they began tracking the stat in 1991:

7.3 – New Orleans Saints, 2006
6.5 – Detroit Lions, 2000
6.4 – Detroit Lions, 2009

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* – Came Up Short On 4th Down Often: The Lions went for it on 4th down 26 times last season (3rd most in the league) but were successful only 27% of the time, the worst percentage in the NFL.

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* – Completed Too Many Long Passes To Wrong Team: Detroit attempted 70 passes where the first touch was 21+ yards beyond the line of scrimmage in 2009.  They completed 7 to their own receivers (11.4%, worst in the league) and 12 to defensive players (17.1%, worst in the league).

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* – Gave Up Short Field A Lot: Opponents had 11 scoring drives of less than 30 yards against Detroit last season, the most in the NFL.

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* – Couldn’t Bust Rushers Loose: The Lions managed only 5 rushes of 20 or more yards last season.  Only Houston (4) had fewer.  What’s more, only 10.4% of Detroit’s rushing yardage came via those long runs.  Again, only Houston (7.3%) had a lower rate.  Compare those to Tennessee, where 36.9% of their total rushing yardage came on runs of 20+ yards.

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* – Couldn’t Score In 2nd Quarter: The Lions managed only 63 points in the 2nd quarter last year, the fewest in the NFL:

63 – Detroit Lions
67 – Buffalo Bills
70 – Cleveland Browns

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Be sure to check back for tomorrow’s preview of the Cleveland Browns.

Read More: Patriots schedule preview,
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