Week 5 Preview: The Return of Jim Schwartz

This week, the Buffalo Bills circle their wagons to the Motor City and you know who is riding shotgun in one of those wagons? Former Lions head coach Jim Schwartz.

For those of you who blocked Schwartz completely out of your life once he left, Schwartz is now the defensive coordinator for the Bills.

Coming off a controlling win over the New York Jets, the Lions prepare for a “look at us now” win over the Bills, but more so over Schwartz. A win this weekend will keep Detroit gatekeepers of first place in the NFC North.

Schwartz looks unchanged in Buffalo:

How is his defense faring in comparison to the one he ran in Detroit? Not too different. Through four weeks, the Bills rank third in run defense but 25th in pass defense.

The one thing Schwartz was criticized for while in Detroit was his lack of discipline. How did that transfer to Buffalo? The Bills are tied for the fifth most defensive penalties in the NFL. If you are wondering how the Lions defense fares now, they are 19th.

Want some more stats about Schwartz’s defense through four games? They have given up over 1,000 passing yards and have only have two forced fumbles.

What to watch for:

  1. If you were hoping to see the first quarterback drafted in 2012, your dreams got crashed this week when the Bills announced they were benching EJ Manuel in favor of Kyle Orton. While playing for the Bears, Orton used to have his way with the Lions, posting a 4-0 record. With the Lions secondary shutting down the likes of Jordy Nelson and Eric Decker, Orton should have some trouble with his best receiver being rookie Sammy Watkins.
  2. Adam Schefter reported Friday that if Calvin Johnson’s ankle does not improve by Sunday, there is a chance Johnson will sit. Last week, Johnson played sparingly against a stout Jets defense, and new acquisitions Golden Tate and Eric Ebron showed they were worth the pickup. Against the Bills’ 25th ranked pass defense, I fans should not be upset with Johnson sitting being sat so he is ready to go down the road.
  3. For the first time since sustaining an injury in the opening quarter against the Giants, right tackle LaAdrian Waddle is set to start. This is big news for the Lions, who have been manhandled by opposing teams on the right side. Stafford breathes a sigh of relief as he is on pace to be sacked the most times in his career.

Closing thoughts:

With or without Calvin, there is no reason for the Lions to not win this game. The Lions have enough legitimate talent on offense to have the Bills secondary running in circles.

It is without a doubt in my mind that the Lions’ defense can handle a Bills offense that has only scored more than 20 points once this year. It is a backup quarterback, your old coach and a home crowd. Anything other than a win is a huge disappointment.