Five Things to Watch Between the San Diego Chargers and Detroit Lions

1. Turnovers
Turnovers play a big role in most games but that is especially the case between the Lions and Chargers. San Diego turned the ball over at least twice in nine of their first ten games (4-6 record) but they’ve turned it over just once in their last four games. The Lions are among the league’s best in turnover differential, can they force the Chargers into being careless once again?

2. How much bend, how much break?
The Lions defense has given up at least 400 total yards in four of their last five games but have managed to escape with a 3-2 record over that stretch. They’ve shown a propensity for coming up with a big play when they need it most but it would be nice to see them not need to rely on such plays. In a game that many expect to be a shootout, can the Lions defense steal the show?

3. Kevin Smith
The Lions running game has been a hot topic all season and it is pretty clear that Kevin Smith is the only remaining hope to give it life. He didn’t have a lot of room to run last week in Oakland but he seemed to escape without doing any further damage to his injured ankle. If another week of healing can bring back some of the burst he’s shown since returning to the Lions then good things could be in store.

4. Record Watch
-Matthew Stafford needs 195 yards to break Scott Mitchell’s Detroit Lions franchise record for most passing yards in a single season.
-Jon Kitna holds the Lions’ single season completions record but Stafford needs just 16 more to break that mark.
-Having already broken Mitchell’s single season touchdown mark of 32, every touchdown pass that Matthew Stafford throws in the last two games adds to his record.
-Calvin Johnson needs one touchdown to tie Cloyce Box for the most touchdown receptions in season. Box caught 15 touchdown passes for the Lions in 1951.

5. Ford Field Frenzy
The crowd in Seattle is known as the 12th man for giving the Seahawks one of the best home field advantages in the league but the Ford Field crowd has begun to get similar recognition for their ability to impact the game. A few false start penalties by the Chargers might be enough to limit their ground game that has been so successful during their three game winning streak. A festive Christmas Eve atmosphere combined with the prospects of clinching the franchise’s first playoff berth since 1999 could make this game top the in-stadium experience of the Monday Night Football game against the Bears in week five.

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Tags: Calvin Johnson Detroit Lions Kevin Smith Matthew Stafford San Diego Chargers

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