"I have no illusions about Mike going to line up in a phone booth and run the ball at us," Vikings coach Brad Childress said Wednesday. "I mean, he's going to spread us out and see what kind of damage he can do."
Martz loves to throw the ball, and he has plenty of people to throw to — and he has plenty of reasons to throw it to them.
If the Lions can jump out to a lead, they can take the Vikings out of their game plan. The Vikings like to play low-scoring games. They like to win with their running game and defense. The Lions would love to make them throw to play catch-up.
The Vikings have a formidable pass defense — a physical front four, led by defensive tackle Pat Williams, and a solid secondary, led by cornerback Antoine Winfield.
Last year, the Vikings caused all kinds of trouble for the Lions, especially in the teams' first meeting. Williams stripped Jon Kitna and the fumble was recovered in the end zone for a touchdown, and linebacker E.J. Henderson returned an interception for a touchdown, as the Vikings came back from a 17-3 deficit to win, 26-17.
But the Lions are confident.
"They have a great collection of talent on their defense," Kitna said. "We have our work cut out for us, but we feel pretty good about who we are."
The Raiders defense ranked third overall last year, first against the pass, and the Lions scored 36 points Sunday at Oakland. The Raiders clamped down on wide receiver Roy Williams, but the Lions adjusted.
"Our best player's 11," Kitna said. "That's our best player. We're going to try to get him the football. That's point-blank. And if you do something that doesn't allow us to get him the football, we'll go to somebody else."
Williams finished with only four catches for 20 yards and a touchdown. But Shaun McDonald caught six passes for 90 yards and a touchdown. Mike Furrey had five catches for 52 yards. And Calvin Johnson had four catches for 70 yards and a touchdown.
McDonald said the Lions expected the Raiders to play mostly man-to-man, because that's what the Raiders played against everyone last year. But the Raiders ended up playing a lot of Cover 2.
"That shows you respect," McDonald said. "All last year, they were manning up every team. So that shows you that we've got some weapons over here that they didn't think they could match up with."
"I mean, it might start that way, but once me and Mike start making plays inside, then they're going to have to ... concentrate more on the inside and Roy and Calvin will open up," McDonald said. "And then eventually everyone's going to be dangerous. Then we'll just be able to throw to whoever."
BY THE NUMBERS: 10 — Consecutive losses the Lions have suffered against the Vikings.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I think New England did that last year to us, as a matter of fact. Let's put that out there." — QB Jon Kitna, joking that the Patriots tapped into his headset frequency last season.