The Detroit Lions had a huge void to fill when legendary receiver Calvin Johnson unexpectedly walked away from the game at the end of last season.
Their response was to acquire unrestricted free agent and former Bengal Marvin Jones.
A fifth-round draft choice in 2012, Jones only accumulated 1,729 yards in four years with the Bengals, though he missed all of 2014 due to foot and ankle injuries. His size and combine scores are pretty average, though his 4.46 40-yard dash time is quite fast.
Through two games, a 38-35 win over the Colts and a 16-15 loss to the Titans, Jones has 12 catches for 203 yards and a fine 16.9 yards per catch average. He’s tied for first in the league with five catches of 20+ yards.
Though it cost the Lions $40 million over five years, the investment is looking pretty sound at the moment.
The other two starting wide receivers, Anquan Boldin and Golden Tate, have had a lot of success against the Packers, either with Detroit or their former teams. Boldin has seven catches for 83 yards, while Tate is off to a more modest start, with five catches for 54 yards.
Quarterback Matthew Stafford has also made full use of his other teammates. Tight end Eric Ebron has nine catches for 99 yards, running back Theo Reddick has nine for 91, and running back Ameer Abdullah has five for 57 yards. Abdullah injured his foot on Sunday and has been put on injured reserve.
While the Lions’ top tight end and two running backs have gained 247 passing yards, the Packers’ corresponding trio of Jared Cook, Eddie Lacy, and James Starks has just 77 yards.
The Packers are averaging 190 passing yards per game, next to last in the league. The Lions, meanwhile, are averaging 285 passing yards in its two games — seventh best in the league. Pretty remarkable, given the loss of Megatron!