By: Pat Caputo
The Lions (4-4) face a pivotal game Sunday when they visit the Minnesota Vikings (5-4). They have quickly caught the Vikings in the NFC North, trailing by just a half-game after winning the last two weeks, while Minnesota lost. A win Sunday, and the Lions would leap by the Vikings in the standings. The only non-NFC North, or non-NFC division leader, the Lions trail is 5-4 Seattle. Because the Lions beat the Seahawks at Ford Field last month, they hold the first playoff tiebreaker over Seattle. But in order for the Lions to beat the Vikings, the following three things likely must happen.
1. The Lions need to get an early lead to make the Vikings’ offense one-dimensional. Minnesota quarterback Christian Ponder will not beat the Lions coming from behind, but All-Pro running back Adrian Peterson will if the Vikings get the lead.
2. When the Vikings defeated the Lions earlier this season at Ford Field, the Lions were not able to take advantage of Minnesota dropping their safeties exceptionally deep. The Lions need to make the proper adjustments this time around.
3. The Lions have been better on special teams since the Vikings returned a punt and a kickoff for touchdowns at Ford Field. That trend must continue.