For the first time in his NFL career, Matthew Stafford will get to play against an opponent for the second time.
Stafford, like most rookie quarterbacks who see the field right away, has been through some growing pains this season. The difference between college and NFL defenses is astounding. But Sunday, Stafford will have the advantage of playing against a defense he has already seen once.
In the first meeting between the two teams, Stafford looked good, particularly in the first half. He completed a touchdown pass to Calvin Johnson, and the Lions grabbed a 10-0 lead at halftime. Yet Detroit lost that game 27-13.
The Lions are coming off their worst loss of the season, a 32-20 letdown at Seattle last week. The loss was paired with Stafford's worst game as a professional quarterback, as he threw five interceptions and played a crucial role in squandering Detroit's early 17-0 lead.
A rebound on the road against a very good Vikings team will not be easy and may not be possible. But it will be interesting to see what adjustments Stafford and the Lions coaching staff make for this game.
Both Calvin Johnson and Kevin Smith are expected to start for Detroit. Linebackers Ernie Sims and Larry Foote both missed practice this week.
In other news, I will say the Lions are not one of the "surprising" teams talking to former Kansas City running back Larry Johnson. Johnson's agent said multiple teams have talked to his client, and a few "surprising" teams are very interested. Regardless, Johnson will not end up in Detroit.