DETROIT — Let's be honest: Nobody is expecting much of a game Sunday night when the Patriots visit the winless Lions. Sure, given the current state of both defenses and the quarterbacks involved, it might be interesting for a while — and high scoring — but do we really think Tom Brady is going to lose to these toothless Lions? I didn't think so.
But if you think there's nothing to glean from this game — even in a blowout — you would be mistaken.
A lot has been and will be made of the fact new Lions coach Matt Patricia was the Patriots' defensive coordinator. He went against Tom Brady and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels every day in practice for years. Patricia will certainly have some inside knowledge to give his troops about how to play the Patriots' bread-and-butter plays, which they run just about every single game. That will certainly make things interesting for a while. But at some point Brady will become an assassin, the Lions will revert to their natural form, and, in all likelihood, New England will pull away for a convincing victory thanks to its offense and, likely, its special teams, which have a decided advantage.
But for me, that's not the side of the ball that's most tantalizing heading into this game.
No, the main event will be when the Lions' offense goes against the Patriots' defense. If you're a fan who considers yourself learned, wants to be informed, and likes real-time data — especially if you've been a critic of Bill Belichick's personnel and scheme on defense — then you shouldn't miss a snap on that side of the ball, no matter what the scoreboard says.