For the first time in a few months, the Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings will renew hostilities in their divisional battle, and the game will offer a measure of redemption for both sides on multiple different fronts.
Neither team’s defense played well whatsoever at Ford Field, so the challenge will be finding a way to step up and make some plays that eluded each team the last time around.
What matchups will be the most important ones to remember for this contest? Here’s a look at the key battles that will determine this matchup most of all.
Marvin Jones vs. Vikings’ Secondary
Simply put, the Vikings had no answers for Jones the last time around, as the wideout put up 4 touchdowns and 93 yards receiving the last time around. Minnesota’s defensive backfield has been struggling mightily and has not been able to get the job done in terms of slowing down elite passing attacks. While the Lions will have a young quarterback making his first road start in the league, they do also have a pair of talented wideouts in Jones and Kenny Golladay, who will need to be targeted in order for the team to find success. Jones could have another big day against a group he’s dominated already. The Lions would love to see it.
Dalvin Cook vs. Lions’ Defensive Line
Cook is dinged up coming into this game with a shoulder injury, but he had a big contest against the Lions last time around in October, running for 142 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Lions had no answer for Cook, and could not stop the running back in between the lines. Minnesota’s wide receivers played well, but the fact that Cook got going helped the entire offense out. Without an ability to stop anyone on the ground, the Lions can forget about controlling Kirk Cousins and a solid passing attack. It started with Cook the last time, and he made a huge impression on the team with a big afternoon. Another one of those could bury the Lions again.
Bo Scarbrough vs. Vikings’ Defensive Line
Arguably, the Lions have not seen any one of their runners start a career quite like Scarbrough has. Through three games, the running back has 236 yards and 1 touchdown. While that might not seem like an amazing total to note, it’s still fair to say that it is stunning given Scarbrough wasn’t on any NFL radars coming into the 2019 season. It seems the Lions have found one of the true hidden gems and have unleashed him. Chicago did a decent job bottling him up, but the Lions ground game did nothing of note in the last meeting against the Vikings. Safe to say that will have to change, and it’s possible that it could given how well Scarbrough is playing.
David Blough vs. Mike Zimmer
Last week, Blough might have fooled the Chicago Bears, but he’s sneaking up on nobody this time around. The Vikings will have plenty of tape on Blough and will have a good chance of trying to figure him out. Blough will have to try and stay one or two steps ahead within his own preparation, but it will be a challenge given the fact that he will have one of the league’s best defensive minds gunning for him in Zimmer. What Zimmer can do and what Blough can do to respond will be