Detroit Lions: Week 2 Boom or Bust

Week 1 boom: Aidan Hutchinson – MISS

Week 1 bust: D’Andre Swift – MISS

Boom and bust predictions for the Detroit Lions are off to a shaky start, but hopefully the Lions’ 38-35 defeat to the Philadelphia Eagles can provide some clarity going forward. Simply taking score into account, the offense was a strength and the defense was a weakness. So which player will help provide back-to-back strong offensive performances and which player could be in trouble of seeing back-to-back challenging games?

Boom: Amon-Ra St. Brown
Amon-Ra St. Brown saw an appealing 32.4% target share along with a touchdown in Week 1. Jared Goff looked in St. Brown’s direction very frequently at the end the 2021 season, and it seems like that will carry over into 2022. The Commanders are a particularly desirable matchup for St. Brown, who primarily lines up in the slot for the Lions. Last week, the Commanders had no answer for Jacksonville Jaguars receiver Christian Kirk when he saw targets from the slot. Kirk tallied six receptions for 117 yards, a stat line the more talented St. Brown may end up eclipsing. The Commanders have reliable veteran cornerbacks on the outside in Kendall Fuller and William Jackson III, but lack experience in the slot which Kirk capitalized on. Benjamin St. Juste earned the primary slot role this offseason, but his unpleasant Week 1 performance signals a future attacking point for opposing offenses. St. Brown has seen ten or more targets in the last ten games and should feast against St. Juste if given that volume in Week 2.

Bust: Alex Anzalone
In a humiliating defensive performance against the Eagles, the Lions found no counter for the run game or the pass game. As the middle linebacker for the Lions, Alex Anzalone faced major struggles in both phases. Anzalone ranked 65th out of 77 linebackers according to Pro Football Focus in Week 1, a very unpleasant sight for Lions fans out of their starting inside linebacker. Anzalone barely appeared to be a starting caliber player last week, and things get no easier this week against Washington. The Commanders have two versatile backs in Antonio Gibson and J.D. McKissic who will challenge Anzalone in both the run and pass. As will receiver Curtis Samuel whose resurgence in Week 1 implies that he has returned to his form in 2020, when he was a dangerous weapon for the Carolina Panthers. Pair these versatile pieces with receivers Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson and the Commanders surprisingly have one of the deepest cores of playmakers in the league. Their athleticism may totally outmatch that of Anzalone, who appears to be a far below average starter in his seventh season.
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