Here are five things the Detroit Lions must do to beat the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday at Ford Field:
1. Stop Adrian Peterson who is still not 100 percent following ACL surgery eight months ago. He’s still been effective, but runs mostly between the tackles because he hasn’t got his burst back yet. The Lions have done a good job against Peterson. Last year he had 17 carries for 78 yards and a touchdown in one game and didn’t play the second against the Lions.
2. Get the offense going from the get-go. Defenses the last two weeks haven’t been giving Detroit anything downfield, so they’ve been dinking around with short yardage plays in the first half. It just seems that the offense has been out of sync early. Is it a coincidence that both games have been losses? I think not.
3. Get Calvin Johnson involved early. Last week he had one catch in the first half and six in the second. I know he’s double- and triple-covered but certainly there’s a way to get him open across midfield at the very least.
4. Special teams coverage units must play better than at Nashville where they allowed a punt return and a kickoff return for touchdowns. On the kickoff, Jason Hanson kicked the ball in the opposite location of where he was supposed to. On the punt return Ben Graham was hurt kicking and couldn’t act as the safety, but still. Better coverage needed.
5. Defensive line must step up. No sacks last week against Jake Locker, that should change this week against Christian Ponder. At the very least, they need to put more pressure on the young Vikings quarterback.
Prediction: Lions 38, Vikings 24