The Detroit Lions lost to the Minnesota Vikings in an earlier 2012 matchup. The team is hoping that their improved special teams can keep the game level and give Detroit’s offense a chance. In the last meeting, the Vikings won 20-13, getting 14 points from special teams.
Minnesota wide receiver/special teams specialist Percy Harvin took the opening kickoff 105 yards for the touchdown, and never looked back in their last meeting. Detroit would also give up a punt return for a touchdown later in the game. The good news for the Lions is their special teams has improved, after giving up return touchdowns in three of four straight games. The other good news for the team is the fact that Harvin is most likely out for Sunday’s game.
The Lions offense continues to put up impressive numbers despite Calvin Johnson’s decline in touchdowns on the 2012 season. The Lions rank second in yards per game on the 2012 season. The Lions passing average of 307.3 yards, ranks first in the league, led by the arm of Matthew Stafford. On the ground, the Lions are improving with a new average of 103.6 yards per game ,which ranks 22nd in the league. In last week’s game, the Lions got four rushing touchdowns from Mikel Leshoure and Joique Bell.
Defense has been plagued by injuries in the secondary for the Lions. Despite the injuries, the Lions defense ranks 8th in passing (214.3 yards) and 14th in rushing (117.3 yards). Minnesota gets the majority of their offense done through Adrian Peterson. The team averages 145.4 yards rushing per game, ranking them fifth in the NFL. In the last matchup between the two teams, the Lions kept Peterson out of the end zone and limited the offense to two field goals.
The Lions desperately need a win versus the Vikings. On a current two game win streak, the Lions are still in last place in the NFC North division. If the Lions can pull out a win, they would be tied with the Vikings for third, and could make a win against the Green Bay Packers the next week carry them up the standings. As I wrote recently, the Lions schedule doesn’t get any easier. The team has matchups with the undefeated 8-0 Atlanta Falcons, and two 7-1 teams in the Chicago Bears and Houston Texans.