Sack Master Lions Back On the Prowl
These words had to strike some real fear in the eyes of quarterbacks all across the National Football League: "With the 13th pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, the Detroit Lions select Nick Fairley." Right then and there, the entire face of the Lions changed. They went from being a cute, little finesse team to one that was going to smack you in the mouth. Fairley is a Top 5 talent at defensive tackle, and playing right next to him is arguably the best defensive tackle in the game, Ndamukong Suh. These two are just nasty together, and they are clearly going to be harassing quarterbacks for years to come.
Week 1 might have just been a precursor to what we might see this year.
Both Suh and Fairley were able to get sacks against QB Sam Bradford of the St. Louis Rams, and this week, QB Alex Smith of the San Francisco 49ers has to be on the lookout for these two beasts. It's not just the men in the middle that can cause havoc, though. DE Cliff Avril actually led the team in sacks last year with 11, and he logged his name on the stat sheet with a sack against the Rams last week as well.
Last year, Detroit was tied for eighth in the league in sacks with 42, and that came in a year in which Suh only had 4 ½ sacks and Fairley had a grand total of one. The mentality is clearly shifting still in the Motor City, and Suh and Fairley are going to be at the center of it. Both could have 10+ sacks this year, and both could be Pro Bowlers.
The one thing that we know this week though, is if the Detroit Lions are going to make for great NFL odds as 6 ½-point underdogs on Sunday Night Football, their sack masters are going to have to make life a living hell for Smith and the 49ers.