How will the Detroit Lions game against the Minnesota Vikings play out? We’ll have to wait and watch to know for sure but here are five things to watch that could help tell the story as the game unfolds:
1. Sacks Allowed
The Lions offensive line struggled to slow down Jared Allen and Brian Robison as the two combined for five sacks. Improving their protection this time around is not only good news for Matthew Stafford‘s health, it will also likely be good news for the stat sheet.
2. Lions Running Game
Talking about the Lions running game is bordering on cliche but they managed just 20 yards on the ground in the first meeting between these two teams. A more balanced attack likely means the Lions won’t have to come back from a 20-point deficit this time around.
3. Greeting the Rookie
Christian Ponder isn’t a sure-thing to play this week due to a hip injury but it will be interesting to see what the Lions defense is able to do to him if he does play. They haven’t treated young quarterbacks very well so far this year. Tim Tebow was mocked Cam Newton was intercepted four times, both in Lions victories.
4. Jason Hanson
Jason Hanson‘s performance of late hasn’t been talked about much but he hasn’t been splitting the uprights like he was earlier in the season. He has missed field goal attempts in his last two games plus another that was blocked last week. Watch to see if he can bounce back this week. I usually hate seeing field goals go up instead of touchdowns but ending drives in even three points helps put the pressure on the Vikings offense and their young quarterback.
5. Stupid Penalties
I hate having to mention it but is worth watching to see if there is any sort of difference in the way the Lions approach the game when it comes to extra-curriculars after the whistle. You can be sure that guys like Jared Allen will be trying to bait the Lions into losing their cool. Will they be mature enough to walk away and controlled enough to quit when the whistle blows?