Here are five things to watch during today’s game that could help tell the story when this one is in the books.
1. New Start
The early bye week gave the Lions a chance to step back and take a deep breath following a disappointing 1-3 start. They had some clear issues that needed to be address, kick coverage for instance, and the early bye was probably their best chance at turning the season around before things got out of control. Will the Lions look like a new team, the one we expected when the season began, or will they look like they did through their first four games?
Michael Vick has a staggering eight fumbles through five games so far this year. Add in six interceptions and Vick has been a turnover machine. The interception problem has been better of late – he is pick-free in his last three games – but the fumbles remain a problem, especially Vick’s propensity to put the ball on the turf inside the red zone. Is this the week he finds his grip or can the Lions capitalize by forcing turnovers?
3. Da Missile’s Impact
Louis Delmas is a strong bet to make his season debut on Sunday and while his stat lines over the last two seasons leave a lot to be desired, his presence has a strong emotional impact. If improved safety play isn’t evident with Delmas in the game, the Lions will be in trouble. Will the impact be immediate?
4. Win the First Half
The halftime score ultimately means nothing but if you’re looking for a sign that things are different coming out of the bye, watch to see who wins the first half. The Lions have made a nasty habit of being slow starters going back to last season and they’ve trailed at the half in each of their first four games. Can they finally win a first half?
5. TDs not FGs
The Detroit Lions rank third in total offense at 412.2 yards per game but rank just 11th in terms of scoring average. That difference is attributed to too many scoring drives ending with field goals instead of touchdowns. The Lions have 13 field goals on the year, second most in the league only behind the 13 kicked by the Giants and Rams who each have an extra game under their belt. Converting scoring chances into touchdowns will be key if the Lions are to leave Philly with a win. Can they do it?