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Previewing The Lions Coming To Town

Kevin Smith

Every week, I’ve been trying to preview the Vikings upcoming matchup.  This week shall be no different.  After all, much like the Vikings we don’t want to dismiss this game as “too easy.”

Don’t forget, on game day, come on over here to Vikings Gab to participate in our live blog.

So let’s break down this matchup a bit, and see what the Vikes need to do in order to ensure another “W.”

VIKINGS RUN GAME (Advantage: Vikings)

The Lions rush defense is actually not too bad.  They’re ranked 17th in the league, allowing only 109.9 rushing yards per game.

Unfortunately for the Lions, a big reason for this are Larry Foote.  Foote leads the team with 42 tackles but is listed as questionable for the game with a knee injury.  He was only able to practice briefly on Friday, after missing the entire week.

Ernie Sims has also been ruled out, which makes the Lions linebacker group that much weaker.

And the news doesn’t get any better for the Lions front seven, as they’re almost all on the injury report.  Questionable are linebacker Jordan Dizon and defensive end Dewayne White.  To boot, other players listed as probable are also struggling with injuries, including defensive tackles Grady Jackson, Joe Cohen, Sammie Lee Hill and defensive end Jason Hunter.

And the news still doesn’t get much better for the Lions, as they are travelling to the Metrodome to face a fully healthy Adrian Peterson, Chester Taylor, and the Vikings offensive line.  Even Steve Hutchinson is thought to finally be back to 100% after he tweaked his back earlier this season.

Put all this together and you end up with a recipe for an “All Day” domination.  The Vikings should have no problem pounding the pigskin down their throats for a majority of the day.  Barring mental mistakes like fumbles and penalties, Adrian Peterson will have a huge game this week.

Player To Watch:  If Adrian Peterson ever wanted to hit the 300 yard mark in a single game, well… this would be an ideal time to make that happen.

 

VIKINGS PASS GAME (Advantage: Vikings)

The Vikings rank 14th in passing.  The Lions are ranked 31st in pass defense.

The only player in the secondary of the Lions that really scares me is Louis Delmas.  He is still a rookie, though, that has made plenty of rookie mistakes.

The key here is simply to allow Brett Favre the time to throw the ball.  We already listed the injuries to the Lions front seven, which also means that the pass rush should (SHOULD!) end up being fairly weak.  Julian Peterson leads the Lions in sacks, but only with 3.5 of them.  Cliff Avril is second with 2.5. 

In short, I think this is no contest.  All the signs point towards Favre having all kinds of time to find the open receivers.  Mix in the fact that a solid run game will equal some very convincing play-action, and this also is a recipe for Lion Soup.

Player To Watch:  Rumor has it the Vikings are fixin’ to showcase Percy Harvin big-time during this game.  While this may be a reference to him possibly returning punts, I think we’re more likely to see him getting involved more in the run game and also having more plays designed for him in the passing game.

 

VIKINGS RUN DEFENSE (Advantage:  Vikings)

The Lions rank 20th in rushing, while the Vikings are 6th in rushing defense.  Kevin Smith is obviously their biggest threat, though he is only averaging 3.3 yards per carry.  He’s also only scored 3 touchdowns on the year.

The Lions are perfectly healthy when it comes to players involved in the run game, so they do have that going for them. 

In the end, however, it is really no contest.  Sure, it is possible that the Lions gouge the Vikes with a few big gains on the ground, but for the most part the Lions should be pretty much shut down at the line of scrimmage.

The WilliamsWall is the best in the game at stopping the run, but perhaps our best run defense this week will be our offense.  If Peterson, Harvin, Favre, and company can put up points as quickly and often as I just predicted then the Lions will find themselves in shootout mode, resorting to the pass in an effort to keep the game within reach.

Player To Watch:  Chad Greenway had a huge game last time he played the Lions by picking off Stafford twice.  This week, he’s a player under a lot of scrutiny for his tendency to whiff on tackles.  Watch for Greenway to be out there trying to prove he’s a solid tackler and also trying to prove he is Pro Bowl worthy.

 

VIKINGS PASS DEFENSE (Advantage:  Lions)

Megatron could spell Mega-Trouble for the Vikings 21st ranked pass defense.  However, Calvin Johnson isn’t the only productive pass catcher for the Lions 21st ranked pass offense.

Kevin Smith may be shut down in the run game, but he is scary in the flats and on screens.  Brandon Pettigrew has an opportunity to exploit our defense which has a tendency to let opposing tight ends have big games.  Bryant Johnson and Dennis Northcutt are no slouches either.

The Lions passing game isn’t quite as dominant as they have been in past years, but they’ve also been struggling with injuries that are now mostly behind them.  Both Calvin Johnson and Matthew Stafford are both back to being nearly 100% healthy.

With Antoine Winfield ruled out for Sunday, the Vikings will again be relying on Cedric Griffin, Karl Paymah, Asher Allen, and Benny Sapp to get the job done.  They’ve shown flashes of capability, particularly against the Steelers, but for the most part these backups combined with poor safety play has been the Vikings biggest liability. 

Now, an important factor here will be putting pressure on Matt Stafford.  If the Vikings can get the same amount of pressure this week that they have been, then the tables turn to the Vikings advantage.  I do not care how good your receivers are, it doesn’t do you any good if the quarterback is consistently on his back.  This is why Kevin Smith scares me most in the passing game.  The Lions will surely try and take advantage of the Vikings missing Winfield by throwing screens towards the opposite side of the field as Cedric Griffin.  This will force the Vikings defense to rely on the to-date poor tackling of the Vikings safeties and backup corners.

I expect that the Lions will put up some big numbers through the air, but that pressure on the quarterback and mistakes from the quarterback will determine whether or not the Lions can be successful.

Player To Watch:  Asher Allen was dismal in the Packers game.  However, after actually playing in two games and with this one being on lesser scale as far as a circus atmosphere goes, I expect him to step up and make a bid as the Vikings long term solution at cornerback.

 

VIKINGS SPECIAL TEAMS (Advantage:  Vikings)

The Lions average a terrible 20.7 yards per kick return and 9.1 yards per punt return.  They have had no touchdowns on returns this year.

The Vikings average 28 yards per kick return and 10.7 yards per punt return.  They have had 2 returns for touchdowns this season.

The Vikings should also be getting more production in punt returns because Darius Reynaud is thought to be back to healthy and Percy Harvin could possibly be comfortable enough with those duties now that he takes them over.

Also, our coverage teams are far more productive than the Lions, though the stats are too tedious to post.

Combine these stats with Ryan Longwell and Chris Kluwe usually providing comparable kicking efforts to that of the lions and it is clear that the Vikings hold every advantage here.

Player To Watch:  Percy Harvin is also my player to watch on offense this week.  But with as exciting as it is to watch this guy return kicks, he’ll probably occupy this spot for the rest of this season.

 

CONCLUSION

Overall, I think the Vikes outmatch the Lions in a way that is only sort of sad.  However, nothing good can come of this game. 

If the Vikings win, then it is only “because that’s what they’re supposed to do.”

If they lose then it is a season-threatening embarrassment.

If someone gets injured seriously then it feels like a waste.

So, in the end I think the Vikings roll over the Lions with ease and look to get their starters, at least on offense, off the field as soon as possible.

 

PREDICTION

Here we go, I think the Vikings win by a score of 31 to 20… with the score appearing closer than it ever actually was.


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14 Responses to “Previewing The Lions Coming To Town”

  1. bigjohnny84 says:

    Agree Adam. No injuries should be the theme here. That dink Gosder better watch it. That was funny last time we played them when Gosder was pawing at Jared on the pile and Kevin Williams knocked him on his butt, priceless.

  2. Purple Charlie says:

    Adam,
    Plus the score seaming to be closer than it really was, I too jacked when they are really close!!!

  3. bigjohnny84 says:

    Adam you seem to be very confident. Thats good but if your wrong the crow doesnt taste very good.

  4. Purple Charlie says:

    Adam,
    The Prediction, Vikings 31 -Lions 20 I hope that if it is that score, the Lions would be scoring with about 20 seconds on the clock.
    No time for come backs, Too stressed when it is a close game

  5. Fragile Fred says:

    Nice break down. Well done. Vikes in a laugher. AP 150 yards, Brent Farve out of the game by the mid point of the 4th quarter.

    If Tim Tebow goes in the first round, Freds will take you and BigJohnny out for a thick steak and colt 45. You can’t coach a quick delivery AK, you have it or not.

    • Adam Warwas says:

      Mmmm… those are going to be a good combo 🙂

      The wind up is fixable, though I understand the worries. Too many owners out there like big names to put butts in seats. He WILL be a first rounder. I’ll up the ante, and say that if he’s not then I will take you, Freds, on a little boat ride involving more than just some steak… though the .45’s will still be there 🙂

  6. bigjohnny84 says:

    Fragiles, that steak and those 45’s are gonna be great. I thank you in advance. And I’m sure Adams thanks you in advance also.

  7. bigjohnny84 says:

    And Freds if you are buying there will be multiple 45″s on the tab.

  8. G.P. says:

    I always knew you were a smart one Warwas! Double A will make his bid. Trust! Second Stafford is a beast! However, one beast does not entire team make. The kid has an accurate and powerful arm. Too bad that the vast majority of his team can’t seem to get it together. 21…

  9. Lost Viking says:

    Should go well for us, however, caution is still needed. The Vike have little to play for in this spot. Last couple of wins against Lion have been determined by Lion propensity for the untimely turnover.

    Watch for Lion to try a jump-start to get crowd out of game. Vike can afford to be patient in the run game but a slow start could push the outcome into the 4th

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