Brett Favre and Adrian Peterson stand to have plenty of success against a Lions defense that is ranked 26th in the NFL. Detroit is second-to-last against the pass and 17th vs. the run.
The Vikings are second in the league with 244 points and Favre has put himself in the MVP mix because of his performance. That could mean a long day for the Lions. Peterson has had only two 100-yard rushing performances this season but this appears to be an excellent opportunity for his third.
Minnesota needs to show improvement in its pass defense and will have an opportunity against Lions rookie quarterback Matthew Stafford, who threw five interceptions in last Sunday's loss at Seattle. Detroit jumped out to a 17-0 lead in the first quarter of that game but was unable to hold on.
The Vikings are currently ranked 21st against the pass, giving up 237.9 yards per game. Minnesota, one of the NFL's best against the run, is currently sixth in that category.
The Lions haven't excelled in either running or passing the ball and are 25th in total offense with Stafford running the show. Lions running back Kevin Smith had 83 rushing yards in a Week 2 loss against the Vikings, and Detroit accumulated 129 yards on the ground in that game.
The Lions' front seven did a good job against running back Adrian Peterson in the teams' last meeting Sept. 20, but Peterson broke two big runs when cornerbacks failed to seal the edges.
This time, all 11 players need to do the job, and somehow the Lions need to disrupt Brett Favre's rhythm. He threw for only 155 yards against them last time, but he completed 23 of 27 passes.
On offense, the Lions must run the ball to support rookie quarterback Matthew Stafford and keep their defense off the field. They actually did a decent job last time, with 129 rushing yards on 34 attempts. Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan did everything he could to get the ball to the edge and away from Minnesota's tough tackles.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH
Vikings CBs Karl Paymah and Benny Sapp, who stand to fill in for the injured Antoine Winfield for a third consecutive game, vs. Lions WR Calvin Johnson, who had five receptions for 51 yards and a touchdown in Week 2 against the Vikings. Johnson presents a big target (6-5, 236 pounds) and could be an interesting matchup against the 5-9, 190-pound Sapp and 6-foot, 195-pound Paymah. Johnson, who missed two games this season because of a knee injury, had his only TD catch of the season against the Vikings when the teams met in Week 2. Detroit also handed the ball off to Johnson twice in that game and he gained 16 yards.
Vikings RB Adrian Peterson, who is tied for third in the NFL with 784 yards rushing, vs. Lions MLB Larry Foote, who had a season-high 10 tackles in Week 2 against Minnesota. Peterson rushed for 92 yards in the Vikings' victory over the Lions in Week 2 and Detroit will be looking to keep him in check again on Sunday. It won't be easy considering Peterson will be well rested and almost certainly will get more than the 15 carries he had at Ford Field. Because of the way Brett Favre has been playing this season it's going to make life all the more difficult for Foote and Co. as they will be forced to pick their poison at times. Foote is also coming off an injury that limited him in practice during the week.
Lions QB Matthew Stafford, who threw two interceptions Sept. 20 against the Vikings, vs. Vikings LB Chad Greenway, who picked off both of them. Stafford has thrown six interceptions in two games since coming back from a right knee injury — five of them Sunday against Seattle — and Greenway was all over him last time. Whether it's Greenway or everyone else, the Vikings must consider Stafford ripe for the picking.
Vikings DE Jared Allen, who is tied for the NFL lead in sacks with 10.5, vs. Lions RT Gosder Cherilus. The two have a history dating to last season, when Allen was incensed by a low block Cherilus put on his knees. Allen is tough for anyone to handle, and Cherilus and LT Jeff Backus might be stout to protect gimpy rookie QB Matthew Stafford.
Vikings QB Brett Favre, who posted a 115.3 rating against the Lions last time, vs. the Lions' pass defense, which is allowing opposing quarterbacks a 107.3 rating. Favre could pick the Lions apart again. He went 23-for-27 against them last time with two touchdowns. His longest pass was only 13 yards, and he threw for only 155 yards. But he was more of a game manager then in his second game with the Vikings. Now he's more comfortable and even more dangerous. The Lions have struggled badly against the pass.
Vikings-Lions game plan
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