Lions vs. Vikings: Will Detroit Face a Perilous Journey or a Walk in the Park?

Tom MaysContributor ISeptember 20, 2011

Comming of Age
Comming of AgeLeon Halip/Getty Images

We are all about to learn so much more about these Detroit Lions as they head into Week 3.  One of only three NFC teams who remain undefeated... 

I know, I know—we have all been here before.  Remember, it was just four years ago that the Detroit Lions started out 6-2.  They were looking like world-beaters to all of us Kool-Aid junkies at that time and we just knew that they were going to make it to the playoffs that year.  Yet, despite our optimism, the Lions of old were beaten into the world of reality and they finished the season 7-9, right where their talent level suggested they should be.  

So, just what are we all to expect this year?  Will this be a "Perilous Journey" into Vikings seas? Or will the resurgent Lions take delight in devouring yet another foe, making this a "Walk in The Park" like last week?

There are more than just a few reasons why the Detroit Lions must consider this a "Perilous Journey":


The Rushing Game

First and foremost, the matchup of the Detroit rushing defense against the Minnesota Vikings running attack.  The Vikings are averaging a formidable 5.8 yards per carry through their first two games, with Adrian Peterson supplying the bulk of that yardage, averaging a very respectable 5.3 yards every time he touches the ball.  This is something you simply don't see in losing teams. 

Peterson Patrol
Peterson PatrolHannah Foslien/Getty Images

While the Lions rush defense is much improved, they still haven't put a good rushing defensive effort together.  Through the first two games of the season, Detroit has allowed their opponents over 4.5 yards per carry...they will lose this matchup if they don't bring it together this week against Peterson and the Vikings.


Divisional History

The Minnesota Vikings have owned Detroit at the Metrodome, having beaten the Lions into submission in every meeting since 1997.  Say what you will, but winning on the road (especially within your division) is a difficult task for any NFL team.  Facing a once-perennial power that is falling off the cusp of leadership is downright dangerous. The Minnesota Vikings are at home and they don't like their 0-2 start any more than their fans do. 

The Lions will face history, pride and a black-and-blue attitude in the Vikings team they will face this Sunday.


Special Teams

Suh per Human
Suh per HumanGregory Shamus/Getty Images

While Detroit special teams play looked much better last week, they will be facing one of the better kickoff return specialists this Sunday in Percy Harvin.  Averaging over 50 yards per return and having already returned one to the house, Detroit kickoff coverage needs to be its best.


McNabb Factor

Donovan McNabb is a wily veteran who is still learning about his Viking teammates and the Minnesota system.  While the Lions will stack the middle to stop the run (daring McNabb to take the ball downfield), Lions fans have to remember that the Lions secondary was a question mark heading into this season... 

In short, the Minnesota Vikings still have their axes, but the Lions passing attack is too much for the Vikings.  Provided they keep Minnesota from controlling the clock, they avoid turnovers and special teams TD's and don't allow the long ball, Detroit has too much talent.

Prediction: Detroit Lions 39, Minnesota Vikings 18