When the Lions have the ball...
Detroit's passing attack vs. St. Louis's defensive backs
Zac says: It looks like both Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson will be game-time decisions. Stafford appears more likely to play which should give the passing game a boost, even if Calvin isn't able to go. Dennis Northcutt and Bryant Johnson have had productive games and will need another.
Derrick Williams may get another opportunity to show what he can bring to the offense. Stafford may need a little time to shake off some rust and his mobility may be limited due to the knee injury. Oshiomogho Atogwe is a playmaker in the St. Louis backfield and will need to be accounted for at all times. Advantage: Even
Detroit's running game vs. St. Louis's front seven
Zac says: It is time for Kevin Smith to step up and be the feature back the Lions need. We'll see if moving Jon Jansen to the starting left guard spot produces dividends for the running game.
Jansen has never played the position in a game but routinely practiced there as a Redskin for emergency situations. A week of rest and playing in front of the home crowd could give the Lions a boost to control the clock and wear down the mediocre St. Louis defense. Advantage: Lions
When the Rams have the ball...
St. Louis's passing attack vs. Detroit's defensive backs
Zac says: The Rams' passing offense and Lions' passing defense each rank near the bottom of the league. The Rams are lead by receiver Donnie Avery who has a hip injury and may not play, further limiting their offensive attack.
Marc Bulger and Kyle Boller have combined to throw more interceptions than touchdown passes this year, not surprising considering how infrequently the Rams offense has found the end zone. The Rams may find intermittent success against the revolving door of the Lions' secondary but lack the players to truly take advantage. Advantage: Even
St. Louis's running game vs. Detroit's front seven
Zac says: Steven Jackson has bested his career average with his 4.4 yards per carry but hasn't scored a touchdown yet this year. Jackson hasn't been discouraged by not scoring this year and undoubtedly looks to his match up with the Lions as a chance to get on the board.
The Lions have had problems containing good running backs over the course of an entire game. Adrian Peterson and Matt Forte were both able to find occasional holes to rip off big gains. Dwayne White and Sammie Hill were back at practice this week and will help bolster the thin defensive line.
Tackling well will be the defense's only chance to containing Steven Jackson. Advantage: Rams
Zac (5-1) says: Mark it down, remember this date: I'm picking the Lions to win! St. Louis has a terrible offense and is averaging less than 10 points per game. The Lions absolutely have to shut them down and give the hometown crowd another game to cheer about.
I hesitate to call a game between such terrible teams as bing a must win but the Lions need to show that they are on their way up rather than staying among the league's worst. Detroit 20, St. Louis 13