The Detroit Lions weren’t envisioning a season sweep at the hands of the Minnesota Vikings. They probably weren’t envisioning a healthy Adrian Peterson entering Week 4, let alone one that would destroy their world in the second meeting with 171 yards. This Week 10 loss further buried the Lions hopes of returning to the playoffs for a second consecutive year. While Minnesota went on to the NFC postseason, Detroit went to game-planning for the 2013 NFL regular season, which begins with them hosting Minnesota in Week 1 at 1 p.m. ET.
Lions Week 1 Spread: Lions favored by 3 hosting Vikings
Lions Breakdown and Preseason Effect: Many of Peterson’s most destructive Sunday afternoons last season featured plenty of bad angles, missed tackles and several acts of just out-beasting opposing linebackers. Detroit was no exception there, and this presents a rather huge question again for Week 1. This starting linebacker unit struggled last season and returns both middle linebacker Stephen Tulloch along with DeAndre Levy on the weakside. If Detroit can get good strongside backer play it could go a long way to stopping Peterson, and the Lions could really use a few shining preseason performances from Ashlee Palmer and Tahir Whitehead.
Matthew Stafford‘s mechanics will be worth watching this preseason and he’ll need to get things going early — unlike last year — against the run-happy Vikes. However, the key area where Detroit can must exploit is on the interior line. I’ve been raving since December that Ndamukong Suh-Nick Fairley form the best DT combo in the league. Their ability to blow up runs and fluster Christian Ponder will be absolutely essentially. John Sullivan is one of the league’s best centers but Charlie Johnson and Brandon Fusco can be pushed around at guard.