- Michael Rothstein, ESPN Staff Writer
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Not finishing drives: Detroit has moved the ball fairly well during the first half, but stalled twice inside the red zone. One resulted in a David Akers field goal. The other was a blocked field-goal attempt by Akers from 34 yards with a little under three minutes left in the first half. Detroit has been good in red zone opportunities this season, scoring touchdowns 61.9 percent of the time entering Sunday. The Lions struggled there in the first half and considering their inability to cover A.J. Green (more on that next), that could be a problem.
Defend A.J. Green better: It might sound silly, but Detroit gave Green a ton of cushion in the first half and it showed. He burnt Lions cornerback Chris Houston on a double move in the first quarter that led to the Bengals’ only touchdown. Green has four catches for 135 yards and a touchdown in the first half and has caught all four of his targets. In the realm of the NFL, none were particularly difficult catches and two of them, including the touchdown, were wide open. Detroit will have to figure out some scheme change there. The Lions have been good against Tyler Eifert, though, as he has no catches and has just been targeted once.
Injuries a concern: Detroit knew it’d be without starting right tackle Jason Fox (he’s been out for a while), but the Lions also lost left tackle Riley Reiff to a hamstring injury in the second quarter. This leaves Detroit without both of its Week 1 starting tackles. Unlike losing Fox and having a veteran like Corey Hilliard backing him up, the Lions are going with undrafted free agent LaAdrian Waddle at left tackle while Reiff is out. It’ll be interesting to see how he holds up as the game progresses. He has been decent in his first real action.