Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson celebrates a 23-20 overtime win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Dec. 19, 2010, in Tampa, Fla. (AP/Margaret Bowles)
After playoff appearances each of the last two years, many expected Cincinnati to be in contention for the division lead. Detroit currently the co-leader of the NFC North with Chicago, however, has come as a much bigger surprise to many.
The Lions’ 13 takeaways are tied for fourth in the league after finishing 27th with only 17 last year, have fueled a 4-2 start, matching their 2012 win total. In each game they’ve had a positive or even turnover margin, something they accomplished only seven times all of last season.
Lions linebacker, DeAndre Levey, had two interceptions in last week’s 31-17 win at Cleveland, and is currently tied for the NFL lead with four.
Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz said .”We still have a long way to go, but when you look at our four wins, when we win the turnover battle, it puts us in good position to win the game,”.
Lions Quarterback, Matthew Stafford, and the offense has scored 34 points off those takeaways, tied for seventh in the NFL.
Stafford is coming off his seventh career game with four-plus TDs, three of which went to tight Joseph Fauria. An un-drafted rookie, Fauria became the first tight end in team history with three TD catches and has five scoring receptions among his seven overall.
Calvin Johnson caught six passes for 123 yards and a score in the last meeting against Cincinnati, a 23-13 Cincinnati home victory on Dec. 6, 2009, the Bengals’ fourth straight in the series.
Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh was fined $31,500 this week for a hit on Cleveland quarterback Brandon Weeden. Suh was already fined a league-record $100,000 for an illegal block versus Minnesota in Week 1.
Cincinnati leads the all-time series 7-3.
You can follow me on twitter @hunter_julius01