Two contrasting styles of offense will be featured when the Detroit Lions host the Minnesota Vikings in Week 1 of the 2013 NFL season.
Detroit, led by quarterback Matthew Stafford, throws the ball more than any other team in the league. Explosive running back Reggie Bush joins All-Pro receiver Calvin Johnson, who headlines a talented group of receivers and tight ends capable of making big plays at a moment's notice.
Minnesota, on the other hand, is led on offense by the best running back in the league. Adrian Peterson cracked the 2,000-yard mark last season, and he's publicly stated that 2,500 yards is his goal in 2013, as noted by Kevin Cusick of the Pioneer Press.
Big plays should be abundant for both teams, and those hoping for a defensive struggle should probably look elsewhere to satisfy their desire.
Here's what you need to know about this upcoming contest.
When: Sunday, Sept. 8, at 1 p.m. ET
Where: Ford Field, Detroit, Mich.
Live Stream: NFL Sunday Ticket
Betting Lines (via Covers)
- Over/Under: 46.5
- Spread: Detroit -4
Vikings Injury Report (via NFL.com)
Lions Injury Report (via NFL.com)
Which Christian Ponder Will Show Up?
If the Vikings have any chance of keeping up with the high-octane offense of Detroit, Ponder must play well. He came on strong last season—especially in his final four games before suffering his painful shoulder injury.
As a result, Vikings fans have had high hopes throughout the offseason. Many believed that his fine play at the end of the season would inevitably result in more of the same this year.
However, Ponder hadn't looked particularly sharp this preseason, throwing two interceptions and averaging just 5.0 yards per attempt. His inability to make strong, accurate throws down the field could significantly hamper the team's offense this year.
One positive sign is that the quarterback looked better in Week 3 against the San Francisco 49ers than he had in his first two games. That said, he made most of his headway against the 49ers' second and third units on defense.
Ponder must be able to move the chains through the air in order for the Vikings to win this game. At this time, the jury is still out on whether or not he's capable of doing so on a regular basis.
Detroit's offense will be supercharged this year with the addition of Bush. He's one of the NFL's most explosive playmakers in the open field. The Lions will utilize him in the passing game to great effect, which will open up big plays downfield for "Megatron" and Co.
The Vikings feature an underrated defense, but Detroit should have no problem moving the ball and scoring points.
On the other side, Minnesota won't be able to keep up, unless Peterson rushes for 250 yards and a few touchdowns. He's capable, but the Lions have looked better on defense this year than last.
After making the playoffs last year with a 10-6 record, the Vikings are going to get off to a rough start in 2013.
Lions win 38-20
Follow me on Twitter @JesseReed78