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Behind Enemy Lines: Limping Lions set to host Bengals

Pride of Detroit gives us their perspective on Sunday’s matchup against the Bengals.

NFL: Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bengals and Detroit Lions are getting prepared to have a battle of the cats this weekend. This team is quite different from the last time these teams met. They have almost an entirely new offense and a new head coach as well. We let Mike Payton from Pride of Detroit give his perspective of this game.

Patrick Judis: Is Dan Campbell always turned up to 11? The guy really set the tone at his introduction press conference, and he just seems like he never slows down.

Mike Payton: Dan Campbell is what happens when you mix espresso with Jolt Cola and Surge. He’s a very hyped guy and the team has been responding to it. Honestly it’s like nothing we’ve ever seen before. The Lions are 0-5 and losing key players to season ending injuries every week, yet they appear to be as locked in as ever. Whatever Campbell is doing, it’s working. This team is bought in. It’s exciting for the future.

PJ: The Lions are in a rebuild process, but they haven’t been blown away each week. What has been the biggest issue that has prevented them from getting that first win?

MP: It’s a combination of a few things. These guys can’t stay healthy in any area, Jared Goff feels like a transitional quarterback that’s holding the team back until he’s suddenly not for five minutes out of every game, and this team is super young and pretty untalented. The young talent they do have needs more time to develop. They have a ton of fight and it’s really admirable, but talent is important. Still, you can;t help but feel this team might catch someone when they aren’t looking and sneak a win in there. I just can’t tell you when that’s going to happen.

PJ: There are a ton of new names on this roster offensively compared to last season. Who are some of the building blocks you see as foundational pieces?

MP: There aren’t many. TJ Hockenson and D’Andre Swift can be special. But, outside of them, I wouldn’t get used to any of these guys.

PJ: Separately, I have to ask how many catches rookie offensive tackle Penei Sewell has? In all seriousness, how has he look after the entire nation blasted the Bengals for passing on him?

MP: The Lions offensive line can be great once it gets healthy and situated. You have to feel bad for Penei Sewell. he’s a right tackle all through camp, then gets switched over to left a week before the first game of the year and now that Taylor Decker is on his way back, Sewell looks to be going back to the right. All this on top of the fact that he took the year off last year due to COVID. He had moments where he handled Nick Bosa, but then had bad games like last week or his game against the Bears. There is a lot riding on this kid. He’s essentially been asked to be the Lions anchor on the line at just 20 years old. He’ll be ok, but he needs time and way less sudden pressure.

PJ: What is your prediction for this game?

MP: I think the Bengals are dangerous. The Lions secondary is a very easy target and Joe Burrow and Ja’marr Chase are going to light it up. The Bengals are going to win this game 35-16. Having said that, I’ve been wrong about every score prediction this year and the Lions somehow keep keeping games close.

Thanks again to Mike P{ayton for taking the time out to answer our questions. If you’d like to see more of his work or Lions coverage, check out Pride of Detroit.