This week’s Thursday night NFL matchup pits two of the league’s weaker squads, but at least the uniforms might make for something nice to watch.
The 49ers (0-2) will host the rival Rams (1-1) in Santa Clara, Calif. (8:25 p.m. ET, NFL Network). On Tuesday, we got a glimpse of the teams’ Nike Color Rush uniforms for the NFC West contest.
Both uniform sets remind us a little of college football. The Rams are going with a look similar to that trotted out by Michigan in its season-openning win over Florida. The 49ers’ all-black look is a bit of a flashback to last weekend when Louisville dialed up the hype for its eventual blowout loss to Clemson with a blackout (and those awesome helmets).
The concern for the Lions, though, remains a defense that might be entirely dependent upon forcing takeaways. Teryl Austin’s defense was only able to force Atlanta to punt on its two final drives, and even those trips came within 2 yards of a first down. The nine preceding meaningful possessions ended in either a touchdown, field goal or pick. The Lions struggled against Atlanta’s running game, with Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman averaging in excess of 5.6 yards per carry while racking up 10 runs of 9 yards or more, with two 15-yard runs wiped out via penalty.
Detroit now has eight takeaways after racking up just seven through their first nine games last season. They finished 2016 with a mere 14 turnovers, a number that was likely to regress toward the mean on sheer luck alone. But after the bizarre final play of this game, it’s difficult to imagine a clearer example of luck in close games simultaneously regressing to the mean. Detroit won’t be going 8-5 in one-score games again. The only reason I’m saying difficult and not impossible is because of another game I’ll get to in a minute.