We have a few hours left until the we see how the Lions-Broncos game plays out on the field but here are five things to watch during the game that will help tell the story by game’s end:
1. Quick Start
The Lions have made a bad habit of trailing at halftime. This week brings an opponent the Lions should beat so there is no reason to let them hang around. Outscoring the Broncos in each of the first three quarters should be the goal to avoid a competitive game in “Tebow-time”.
2. Lions Run Defense
The Lions have been burned by big plays on the ground. They probably would have beaten the 49ers if it wasn’t for Frank Gore getting loose a couple times and Michael Turner doing the same thing last week made things very difficult. The Broncos are likely to dress just two running backs today and the Lions need to capitalize on the Broncos’ poor health by stifling their running game.
3. Stafford’s Health
Matthew Stafford looks like a sure bet to play today but that doesn’t mean he will look totally healthy. He hasn’t shown great pocket awareness in recent weeks and decreased mobility could compound that weakness. Best case scenario: Stafford looks like his old self, plays well, stays healthy and Shaun Hill comes in in mop-up duty. Worst cast scenario: let’s not go there.
4. Jason Hanson From DEEEEEEP!
The Lions’ veteran kicker has shown that he still has plenty of leg. With a chance to play in the thin air of the mile high city, I’d love to see the Lions be able to close out the first half with a Jason Hanson field goal attempt from well over 50 yards.
5. Calvin Johnson vs. Champ Bailey
The most intriguing matchup to me will be Champ Bailey on Calvin Johnson. It remains to be seen how much they actually face each other considering the Lions move CJ around so much but Champ Bailey remains one of the better cover corners in the league. Aqib Talib fancies himself as a great cover corner but got burned by Calvin on several occasions. Megatron is finally being recognized as elite and he has another chance to go up against another big name to solidify that reputation.