Vikings-Lions game scout

The Vikings and Lions come into Sunday's game with quarterbacks on the opposite end of their careers. Matthew Stafford is starting his second straight NFL game and Brett Favre is starting his 271st consecutive game.

Sunday
Houston Texans (0-1) at Tennessee Titans (0-1)
Carolina Panthers (0-1) at Atlanta Falcons (1-0)
New Orleans Saints (1-0) at Philadelphia Eagles (1-0)
St. Louis Rams (0-1) at Washington Redskins (0-1)
Minnesota Vikings (1-0) at Detroit Lions (0-1)
New England Patriots (1-0) at New York Jets (1-0)
Oakland Raiders (0-1) at Kansas City Chiefs (0-1)
Arizona Cardinals (0-1) at Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1)
Cincinnati Bengals (0-1) at Green Bay Packers (1-0)
Seattle Seahawks (1-0) at San Francisco 49ers (1-0)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-1) at Buffalo Bills (0-1)
Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0) at Chicago Bears (0-1)
Cleveland Browns (0-1) at Denver Broncos (1-0)
Baltimore Ravens (1-0) at San Diego Chargers (1-0)
New York Giants (1-0) at Dallas Cowboys (1-0)
Monday
Indianapolis Colts (1-0) at Miami Dolphins (0-1)

Minnesota Vikings (1-0) at Detroit Lions (0-1)

KICKOFF: Sunday, 1:00 ET
GAMEDATE: 9/20/09
SURFACE: FieldTurf
TV: FOX (Ron Pitts, John Lynch)

SERIES


96th regular-season meeting. Vikings lead series, 63-30-2. Lions have lost 13 of their past 14 games - and 17 of past 19 - against Vikings. Their last victory in the series was Sept. 16, 2007, at Ford Field, when they won in overtime, 20-17. But both of last year's games were close: 12-10 and 20-16.

KEYS TO THE GAME

The Lions would like to ease rookie QB Matthew Stafford into the game, but they fell behind early last Sunday and rushed for a paltry 1.6 yards per carry. Considering the Vikings haven't allowed a 100-yard rusher for 24 consecutive games, RB Kevin Smith is going to have a difficult time keeping Stafford out of third-and-longs. Time of possession and the stamina of Detroit's defense then becomes an issue due to the Vikings' prolific ground game. QB Brett Favre threw for just 100 yards last Sunday, but with RB Adrian Peterson coming off such a strong opener and the Lions lacking a strong pass rush, the play-action passing game should be successful.

FAST FACTS

  • Favre will start his 271st career game, breaking the NFL record for non-kickers held by former Vikings DE Jim Marshall.

  • The Lions' 18-game losing streak is tied for the third longest in NFL history. The record is 26 by Tampa Bay (1976-77).

    VIKINGS

    Brett Favre didn't think all that much of it when he passed Ron Jaworski's record for consecutive starts by a quarterback in November 1999. "They stopped the game and I was kind of like, ‘You know, it's not that big of deal," said Favre, who made his 117th consecutive start against the Bears at Lambeau Field.

    But as Favre gets set to break Jim Marshall's NFL record of 270 consecutive starts on Sunday in Detroit, the Vikings quarterback is no longer selling himself short.

    "I feel like stopping the game every time," I start now," joked Favre, who is less than a month from his 40th birthday. "I think I always knew how difficult it was to play. In this game, you can get hurt. You can get hurt doing anything, but the game of football is physical. I don't get hit every play like running backs do and linemen and stuff. But I think about 16, 17 straight years, that's a long time."

    Marshall, a defensive end, set his record while playing for the Vikings from 1961 to 1979. Marshall still holds the mark for consecutive games (282) because he spent his rookie season in 1960 with the Cleveland Browns. The consecutive games streak is the one the NFL recognizes in its "Record and Fact" book.

    Part of the reason is because it remains uncertain how many games in a row Marshall actually started.

    The Browns no longer have the documentation of his starts for the 1960 season but the team thinks he started the first game and then served as a sub in the next 11. Marshall did start every game he played as a Viking.

    Favre's streak started in the fourth game of the 1992 season with Green Bay.

    He has played through numerous injuries in getting to this point, including 16 that the Packers listed in their media guide last season when they did a final tribute to the quarterback. He also played despite a torn biceps tendon in his throwing arm last season and still has a rotator cuff tear.

    "It's hard to really put into words," Vikings linebacker Ben Leber said of Favre's streak. "It's pretty incredible. You think about the amount of hits everybody takes and the way you feel. And you're always going to not just be hurt but be injured throughout your career. So to play through the injury and the pain, it really is truly incredible."

    LIONS

    Matthew Stafford threw three interceptions in his NFL debut. Now, in his second game, the Lions' rookie quarterback must face the Minnesota Vikings, who have perhaps the best defensive line in the league. He's on the lookout for Jared Allen and Co.

    "There's definitely a chess match, and guys are going to come after me," Stafford said. "I'm sure, just being a rookie, defensive coordinators are probably licking their chops, thinking they've got a shot to come in there and rough some young guy up. It's my job to be prepared for it and try to make them pay for it when they do come after us."

    How the Lions will protect Stafford, and how he will react to the rush? Stafford missed on some throws at New Orleans, going 16-for-37 for 205 yards. He said he had to get rid of the ball before he wanted to at times.

    "I think he was just playing fast," offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said. "A lot of that, there's a reason why you're throwing the ball quicker. Everybody would like to hold it a little bit longer. But sometimes you just can't. I think that happened on a couple of those, where he probably let them go a little early. But there's a lot more to it than him playing too fast."

    It's going to be tough against the Vikings, who led the league in rush defense last year. But the Lions need to support Stafford by establishing the run and not putting everything on his shoulders.

    The Lions didn't do that at New Orleans. Linehan pointed to Stafford's first interception.

    Trailing late in the second quarter, 28-10, the Lions got the ball on the New Orleans 15 after Reggie Bush muffed a punt. Then they backed up five yards after a false start by left tackle Jeff Backus.

    It was first-and-15 from the New Orleans 20 with 39 seconds left. Stafford tried to hit wide receiver Calvin Johnson. He threw it behind him, and safety Darren Sharper picked it off.

    "We were in a situation where we were trying to score a touchdown at the end of the half," Linehan said Thursday. "Maybe if you were in a different situation you would have been a little more selective as to what we were trying to do there, not putting him in a position where he's got to feel like he's got to keep up with somebody."

    This is all part of the experience.

    "He knows what he did well; he knows what he didn't do well," Linehan said. "The biggest thing is, he's a great competitor and he's a real accountable kid. He knows what he's going to have to do next game or the next time he's in that situation."


  • Viking Update Top Stories