Welcome to this week’s edition of Five Things to Watch. These five things aren’t necessarily keys to the game or important matchups but they are five aspects of the game to watch that might help tell the game’s story line.
1. Busting Big Ones
Adrian Peterson is a freak combination of speed and power. That can’t be shut down completely (unless he reverts to the guy with fumbling problems) but giving up a 100 yard day to AP won’t necessarily spell doom for the Lions perfect start to the season. What they need to avoid is letting Peterson bust the long runs to force the Vikings to use other players to drive down the field.
2. Good Donovan/Bad Donovan
Donovan McNabb is a big name but it is a name built on what he did in the past, not what he is doing now. He may not be the same player he once was but I think he is still capable of having a monster game from time to time. McNabb was dreadful in week one when he threw for just 39 yards but followed it up with a more efficient game in week two. McNabb’s stat line will tell a lot about what the scoreboard will say at game’s end.
We’ve heard a lot about the Lions’ futility in Minnesota this week. They haven’t won at the Metrodome since 1997 and it has been 30 years since they were favored in a road game against the Vikings. The 30-year streak has been broken and if the Lions bring the kind of aggressive game plan they’ve used in the first two weeks they should be able to break the losing streak too. The Lions should win this game and they need to act like it from the beginning.
4. Sack Lunch
Donovan McNabb has been sacked twice in each game this season. The Lions defensive line has been active but hasn’t posted the sack numbers that equal the hype (deserved, I might add) that has surrounded the unit. Breaking out in big way will help make number 2 above work out in the Lions’ favor.
5. Stefan Logan
Remember him? The Lions are one of two teams that haven’t returned a kickoff this year but Logan should get a crack at a return this week. The Vikings have allowed eight kickoff returns so far this year, third most in the league. Giving the offense better field position could make this game even more comfortable than the preceding two.