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Lions-Vikings: Beer Thinker's Week Two Preview

Seattle Lion FanAnalyst IISeptember 18, 2009

What is the best metaphor for the Lions after having been defeated by Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints, only to now face Adrian Peterson and the Minnesota Vikings?

Out of the frying pan and into the fire seems best suited.

While the outcome of last week's game was similar to games played last season, there is a consensus the Lions have improved. Special teams had two good returns to give the Lions good field position, which resulted in 10 of the 27 points scored. Louis Delmas picked up a fumble and ran 65 yards for the score, resulting in another seven points. 

While I agree that overall the team play has improved, a loss is still a loss.

Vikings on Offense

The Vikings picked up Brett Favre, and anyone who is a Viking and/or a Favre fan has put the Vikings into the Super Bowl. Favre, while still able to throw the ball better than 95 percent of the quarterbacks in the NFL, has admitted that he doubts his own durability.

He has changed his mindset from being the all-out gunslinger to just managing the game. His 14-of-21 completions, 110 yards, and one touchdown against the Browns showed that. But with a running back like Peterson rushing for 180 yards and three touchdowns, he doesn't need to do much else. 

The Lions did keep Peterson out of the end zone in the two games played last year, thought he did rush for 216 over those two games. Both of those games were probably Detroit's best defensive efforts as the Lions lost by a combined six points.

Vikings on Defense

The Vikings defense had a solid game last week against the Cleveland Browns. They are currently ranked 11th overall (10th against the pass and 19th against the run). However, they did give up 20 points to Brady Quinn and the Browns, an offense that, like the Lions, has been struggling. They allowed one passing touchdown and held the Browns' rushing game to 89 yards. 

Lions on Offense

One thing the Lions did well last week against the Saints was protect Matt Stafford as they gave up only one sack. Stafford had a lot of opportunities to complete passes, but his accuracy was off. But even at that, there weren't many wobbly passes. He was throwing nice, tight spirals, even if they did go into the ground. 

He did show flashes of his capabilities in hooking up with Calvin Johnson on a nice 64-yard reception, but they have got to get the ball in CJ's hands more than three times a game. 

Kevin Smith had 72 total yards, but only 20 of them rushing. He did run hard but had only 15 rushing attempts. The jury is still out on the new offensive blocking scheme.  Brandon Pettigrew has to be more involved, and Stafford must protect the ball better than he did with his three interceptions last week.

Lions on Defense

Pretty simple: Stop Adrian Peterson. But as everyone in the NFL is finding out, that is way easier said than done. If the Lions were smart, they would have a linebacker shadow Peterson on every play and rotate between Ernie Sims, Larry Foote, and Julian Peterson.

If they can get the Vikings to pass the ball more, then the game falls into Brett Favre's hands. 

But Favre has been a Lion killer his whole career. However, as the link above shows, he's not sure he can last the whole season.

In this article, Favre is quoted as saying, "I probably don't move around as well as I used to. I don't think I trust my legs as much as I used to, and I think in all honesty I'm not physically capable as I once was."

If the Lions can hold back the Peterson tsunami and force the Vikings into a passing game, they will need to attack Favre. It's their best chance to win for the first time since 2007.

Prediction

Ah, what the heck—I am an optimist. Lions 21, Vikings 17.

Salud!

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