With a win against the MInnesota Vikings (5-4) at the Metrodome on Sunday, the Lions (4-4) would move into third place in the NFC North. Here are five things the Lions need to do to beat the Vikings.
1. Stop Vikings defensive end Jared Allen who always seems to have good games against the Lions. Look for the Lions to put Riley Reiff on the left side, to Jeff Backus’ left, to help with the coverage.
2. Stop Vikings running back Adrian Peterson who leads the NFL in rushing despite just coming off ACL surgery at the end of last season. He had 21 carries for 102 yards in the first meeting which was won by the Vikings 20-13. Peterson’s longest run in that game was for 18 yards.
3. Run the football. The tandem of Mikel Leshoure and Joique Bell has been playing well in their platoon system. The youngsters seem to run with more confidence each week. The Vikings have given up an average of 166 rushing yards in the last four games.
4. Get the ball to Calvin Johnson. Despite being hobbled with a bum knee, Johnson had seven catches for 129 yards last week. Six of those came in the first half. While none was a touchdown, he helped set up the two first-half scores. More of that will be needed this week.
5. Don’t take the Vikings lightly. They’ve lost three of the last four with quarterback Christian Ponder floundering. In two of the last three games he’s thrown for 63 yards or less. Still, they are the Vikings and the Metrodome is an incredibly loud and unfriendly venue.
Prediction: Lions 38, Vikings 14
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