What: Kansas City Chiefs at Detroit Lions
When: Sunday, September 29 at 1:00 p.m. ET
Where: Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan
How (TV): FOX
Latest point spread: Chiefs -6.5, Lions +6.5
Whenever two undefeated teams go head-to-head, it’s worth watching, and this meetup between the 3-0-0 Kansas City Chiefs and the 2-0-1 Detroit Lions should provide plenty of football entertainment in Week 4.
On one side, there is veteran head coach Andy Reid guiding young quarterback Patrick Mahomes and his Chiefs to high-scoring victories, and on the other side is second-year head coach Matt Patricia doing his best to breathe new life into veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford, whose Detroit Lions always seem to put on a good game but without a lot wins to show for it.
Both these two teams are better on offense than on defense, so get ready to watch a scoring showdown on Sunday.
Let’s take a quick look at how each of these two teams is set up for Week 4.
Whenever the Kansas City Chiefs take the field with Patrick Mahomes under center, they have an air of invincibility about them, regardless of who is on their offensive roster or how mediocre their defense tends to be.
Opposing teams can score on the Chiefs (they rank 14th in total points against with 64) but that’s nothing compared to what kind of points they can put on the scoreboard, ranked 3rd in scoring this season with 101 total points in three games.
The Chiefs may not have deep threat receiver Tyreek Hill due to a shoulder injury, but Mahomes seems to be able to make a star target out of every playmaker on his roster, with receiver Sammy Watkins and tight end Travis Kelce stepping up so far in 2019.
For more on the Chiefs, check out this article: Kansas City Chiefs Biggest Offseason Moves
It may have taken head coach Matt Patricia a season to get situated as the head coach of the Detroit Lions, but now that he has it looks like his team has found its long-lost rhythm.
Quarterback Matthew Stafford has always put up decent numbers (except in the win column), but under Patricia’s guidance it looks like he is finally developing into the team leader that he was always meant to be.
Detroit’s two 2019 wins have not been thunderous but they haven’t lost a game yet, so expect them to show up and play big at home against the Chiefs on Sunday with receivers Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones and tight ends Jesse James and rookie T.J. Hockenson going for their third win.
For more on the Lions, check out this article: Detroit Lions Biggest Offseason Moves
These two teams have met 13 total times, with Detroit winning 5 of those games and Kansas City winning 8 times.
The Chiefs have won 3 of the last 5 matchups, including their latest meeting during the 2015 season when Kansas City beat Detroit 45-10 at home.
If the Chiefs win this matchup, they’ll be 4-0-0 and will surprise nobody with their steady repeat march to the AFC West championship and an eventual return to the postseason.
But if the Lions come out on top, then they’ll move to 3-0-1 and stay atop the NFC North, which is turning out to be a difficult division in 2019 with every team possessing a winning record going into Week 4.
Who’s favored to win this Week 4 Chiefs-Lions matchup?
Which team has a better offense? Defense? Special teams?
Which team’s quarterback is more likely to lead his team to victory?
We’re going to briefly compare the Chiefs and the Lions next and attempt to answer those questions and more.
Passing attack: The 2019 Kansas City Chiefs have the best overall passing attack after averaging a whopping 392.3 yards through the air per game in 2019.
Mahomes is leading the league in production right now, having completed 82-of-114 for 1,195 yards (the only quarterback so far to break a thousand passing yards this season) and 10 touchdowns with zero interceptions.
The Chiefs best receiver right now is Sammy Watkins, ranked 2nd in the league for catching 20 passes for 311 yards and 3 touchdowns, averaging 15.5 yards per catch.
Rushing attack: The Chiefs rushing game is the 22nd best in the league right now, averaging 94.7 yards on the ground per game.
Kansas City’s best rusher is newly acquired LeSean McCoy, who has 29 carries so far in 2019 for 158 yards and a touchdown with zero fumbles.
The Chiefs’ offense averages 33.7 points per game, the third best total in the league.
Listed as questionable for Week 4: running backs LeSean McCoy (ankle) and Damien William (knee).
Injury notes: tackle Eric Fisher (groin) and receiver Tyreek Hill (shoulder) are listed as OUT, while receivers Davon Grayson (knee), Felton Davis (shoulder), tight end David Wells (undisclosed) and Marcus Kemp (knee) and quarterback Chad Henne (ankle) have all been placed on injured reserve.
Passing attack: The 2019 Detroit Lions possess the 11th best passing attack in the NFL right now after averaging 269.0 yards per game though the air.
Quarterback Matthew Stafford is the 10th best at his position so far, completing 67-of-107 for 831 yards and 6 touchdowns with 2 interceptions.
Detroit’s best receiver right now is receiver Marvin Jones, who so far has 15 catches for 200 yards and a touchdown.
Rushing attack: Detroit’s running game is ranked 18th in the league, averaging 98.7 yards on the ground per game this season.
Detroit’s best runner has been Kerryon Johnson, who has carried the ball 48 times for 126 yards and a touchdown but averaging just 2.6 yards per carry.
The Lions’ offense scores an average of 22.3 points per game, 15th most in the NFL this season.
Listed as questionable for Week 4: wide receiver Danny Amendola (chest)
Injury notes: wide receiver Jermaine Kearse (leg) has been placed on injured reserve.
When it comes to scoring points and getting the solid wins, the Kansas City Chiefs are the far better offensive team in this matchup.
Pass coverage: The Chiefs have the 19th best pass defense, keeping opponents to an average of 258.0 yards through the air per game.
Kansas City has 3 total interceptions so far in 2019 and 7 sacks.
Run coverage: The Chiefs are ranked 27th against the run, having allowed opponents to rush for 137.7 yards per game.
Kansas City’s defense has allowed opponents to score 64 total points against them in three games, which is tied for 14th fewest in the league.
If you like watching great tacklers, check out cornerback Kendall Fuller, who has 21 tackles this season and a sack.
Defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah is a quarterback hunter, and so far, he has 2.5 sacks, 7 tackles and a forced fumble – expect a lot more.
The Chiefs secondary is a whole lot better thanks to defensive back Bashaud Breeland, who has an interception, 3 passes defended, 12 tackles and a fumble recovery in three games.
Listed as questionable for Week 4: currently no Chiefs defensive players are listed as questionable.
Injury notes: defensive end Tim Ward (knee- ACL) and linebacker Darius Harris (undisclosed) .are both listed as NFI, cornerback Morris Claiborne (suspension) is listed as OUT, while cornerbacks Michael Hunter (groin) and Keith Reaser (Achilles) and defensive end Breeland Speaks (knee – MCL) have all been placed on injured reserve.
Pass coverage: The Detroit Lions are currently ranked 22nd against the pass, with opponents averaging 269.3 yards per game through the air.
The Lions defense has a total of 2 interceptions, and their 9 total sacks are tied for the 9th most in the NFL right now.
Run coverage: Detroit is just 22nd against the run, with their opponents averaging 125.3 yards on the ground per game.
The Lions defense has allowed opponents to score a total of 61 points so far this season, which is the 12th least in the league.
Defensive back Tracy Walker has become quite the tackler, already with 24 of them (tied for 18th most in the league) as well as an interception and 4 passes defended.
If you like watching quarterbacks go down, keep your eyes on Lions’ outside linebacker Devon Kennard, who already has 3.0 sacks, a fumble recovery and 13 total tackles in 2019.
Watch for cornerback Darius Slay to put on a show, already with an interception, 4 passes defended, a fumble recovery and 7 tackles.
Listed as questionable for Week 4: defensive ends Mike Daniels (foot) and Da’Shawn Hand (elbow), cornerbacks Rashaan Melvin (knee) and Darius Slay (hamstring)
Injury notes: defensive end Austin Bryant (arm) and defensive tackle Darius Kilgo (undisclosed) have both been placed on injured reserve.
Neither of these two teams excels on the defensive side of the ball, but right now it looks like the Detroit Lions are just a bit better and will have a slight advantage on Sunday.
Kansas City’s veteran punter, Dustin Colquitt, is in his fifteenth NFL season, all with the Chiefs, and this season he has punted 8 times for a net average of 35.6 yards per punt, which was the 33rd best in the league.
Detroit’s punter, Sam Martin, is in his seventh NFL season, and so far in 2019 he has punted 17 times for a net average of 38.6 yards per punt, 30th best in the league.
Kansas City’s placekicker, Harrison Butker, is in his third NFL season, all with the Chiefs.
Butker has made 6-of-6 field goals this season, his longest a 46 yarder, and so far, he has missed one extra point attempt (11/12).
Detroit’s placekicker, Matt Prater, is in his 13th NFL season (6th with the Lions).
Prater has gone 4-for-6 this season, his longest a 55-yarder, and he has missed one extra point attempt (7/8).
Kansas City’s punt returner, wide receiver Mecole Hardman, is ranked 2nd in punt return average in 2019.
Hardman has returned 1 punt for 20 yards, averaging 20 yards per return.
Detroit’s punt returner, cornerback Jamal Agnew, is ranked 31st in the league in return average.
Agnew has returned 8 punts for 28 yards, averaging 3.5 yards per return, his longest for 24 yards.
Detroit might have a slightly better punter, but all signs point to Kansas City as having the better special teams unit.
As basic as it sounds, the Kansas City Chiefs will win this game by simply outscoring the Detroit Lions.
Head coach Reid has figured out how to game plan Mahomes and his playmakers in such a way that they seem to score on every possession (they’ve only punted 8 times this year) and that will be too much for the Lions’ defense, even at home.
This will be a good game, but in the end the Chiefs will be too much for this Lions team that can’t seem to score more than 25 points in a game, and that will not be nearly enough to win this one.
It would be a huge mistake to go to sleep on these Detroit Lions because they are slowly falling into their groove under head coach Matt Patricia, even with his leg boot on.
Stafford has a lot of solid targets on the roster now and he has the arm to get the ball there, especially if his running backs will be healthy enough to counter the pass attack he is bringing.
For the Lions to win this one, defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni will need to figure out a game plan that slows down Mahomes, a task that will be a whole lot easier with the Ford Stadium home crowd helping out noisily from the stands.
Kansas City Chiefs by 13, because Patrick Mahomes is incredible and one way or the other, he will make sure of it.
John Breech of CBS Sports takes the over and predicts the score as Chiefs 41, Lions 24.
My prediction is take the over, final score Chiefs 37, Lions 24.
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Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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