The Detroit Lions will get set to tangle with the Minnesota Vikings this weekend, and they will try to end a long losing streak in the series that dates back a few seasons.
Right now, one team is in the basement and the other is trying desperately to stay relevant this season and make a push for the playoffs. With a win, however, the Vikings could crawl back into that mix but could also keep the Lions back in the basement of the NFC North as well.
What is the most important things to watch this week? Here’s a look.
Can the Lions Exact Some Revenge?
Detroit once owned a winning streak head to head in the series a few years ago, but the Lions have slipped backward to the pack a bit the last few seasons. They’ve lost 4 games in a row to the Vikings, and will be looking to reverse that course this season. More than that, the team now employs Everson Griffen, who they figure to unleash on his former team this weekend. Griffen will be motivated to come in and show the Vikings that they made a mistake in dumping him.
Will the Offense Step Up?
Detroit’s offense needs to find a way to play much better than they did last week, and play up to their potential. 21 points isn’t going to get it done, especially when the opposition is scoring 41 and able to slow your offense down to a crawl. The Vikings defense has struggled at times this year, and the Lions need to find a way to take advantage. This isn’t the same fearsome group up front that Detroit has faced in previous years, so the Lions have to protect the pocket, get a bit of a running game going and find a way to grind out a win with a few big plays mixed in for good measure.
Will the Pass Rush Revive Itself?
Detroit’s defense has gone as the pass rush has gone so far this season. Last week, it wasn’t good at all against Philip Rivers and the Colts. This week against Kirk Cousins, it has to be much better if the Lions want to win the game. Detroit is going to have to get into Cousins’ face and disrupt him. Sacking Cousins is the best way to force him into mistakes, and that’s just what the Lions defense will be shooting for. The hope is Everson Griffen and Romeo Okwara can be a formidable duo in their first game together.
Who Produces Without Kenny Golladay?
The Lions won’t have Golladay in the mix this week which is a huge blow to their offense. Detroit is 0-3 without Golladay this season, and when he vanished last week, so did their chances of competing in the game. The Lions will hope the answer to this question is Marvin Jones, but it’s more than possible that someone else like Danny Amendola or Marvin Hall will have to deliver a few haymakers to give the Lions some punch. Regardless, someone is going to have to make plays without Golladay in the fold.
Is This the Beginning of the End?
The margin of error remains thin for the Lions this season. A defeat in this game would kill Detroit’s chances of making a late season run to the playoffs, while a win would keep things alive at least for now. The team would also start upon more trouble with a loss in terms of the future of Matt Patricia and the team’s front office. Every week feels like a referendum on the season now.