After missing out on the opportunity to do so the past couple of weeks, we're back to exchanging Five Good Questions with the SB Nation blog that represents this week's opponents. This week, the Minnesota Vikings are taking on the Detroit Lions, and that means sitting down with Sean Yuille, the head blogger over at Pride of Detroit. When he posts my answers to his questions, I will have a link to them on the front page. For now, here are the questions I had for Sean, along with his answers.
1) After having some issues on offense early on in the season, the Lions have put up 34 points in each of the past two weeks. How much of that has been the opponents the Lions have faced and how much of that is the offense getting back on track?
I think it's a pretty even combination of both of those factors. Playing bad defenses -- specifically, bad defenses that the Lions match up extremely well with -- is obviously a part of it. The Bears and Bucs made life easy for Matthew Stafford, allowing him to really sling the ball around on a consistent basis.
It does seem like the offense is making real progress, though. Having guys like Calvin Johnson, Riley Reiff and Larry Warford fully healthy helps, and just getting more and more experience in this new offensive system is big as well. Obviously the real test for the Lions will be performing at this level against better defenses, but if nothing else, the last two weeks have at least given the offense a big confidence boost.
2) Ndamukong Suh is one of the NFL's premier defensive players. He's in the final year of his contract and the price of a potential franchise tag would be astronomical. Is there any chance that he's back in Detroit next season?
His price tag is definitely going up and up, but I do think he could end up re-signing with the Lions. They have seen just how important Suh is with their defense performing at such a high level this season, and taking him out of the mix would do serious damage to the entire defense. I think the Lions have realized this season that they really can't afford to lose him, and with the cap going up, there should be enough room to re-sign him. And if the money he is after is there, I don't think Suh would have a problem with staying in Detroit.
3) What have the impressions been concerning the first year of the Jim Caldwell era in Detroit?
More than anything, Caldwell has been very impressive as a leader. I don't think he necessarily brings a lot to the table from an Xs and Os standpoint, but he has done an excellent job of leading this team and helping them avoid yet another second-half collapse (at least so far, anyway).
4) The Lions are in a fight for a post-season spot, and still have a good chance at the NFC North title. What do you think the Lions' chances are of passing the Packers and hosting a playoff game for the first time since 1993?
Barring back-to-back Packers losses, the only way the Lions can win the NFC North is with a victory at Lambeau Field in Week 17. With this in mind, the chances of the Lions winning the division don't seem great simply because they haven't won a game at Green Bay since 1991. Lambeau has just been an absolute house of horrors for the Lions, and with the way the Packers have been playing lately, it just seems unlikely.
Then again, the Lions did beat the Packers in pretty dominating fashion earlier in the season, and the streak has to end at some point, right? With both the NFC North and a first-round bye potentially on the line, I can't think of a better time for the Lions to finally end their losing streak at Green Bay.
5) If you could take any player off of the Vikings' roster and add them to the Lions, who would you take and why?
Given the uncertainty at the defensive tackle position, it'd be nice to have a guy like Sharrif Floyd to rely on going forward. Rookie Caraun Reid is actually the only Lions defensive tackle under contract beyond 2014, and it's possible that both Suh and Nick Fairley will be playing for other teams next year. With that in mind, I would gladly take a player like Floyd, who is currently the seventh-best defensive tackle in the NFL on Pro Football Focus. (The current No. 1 DT is rookie Aaron Donald, who the Lions passed on to draft Eric Ebron. Oops.)
Thanks to Sean for taking the time to sit down and answer our questions. We'll have more coverage of this weekend's game leading up to kickoff at 3:25 PM Central time on Sunday.