How have the Lions fared in 2021?
The Lions come into the building with an 0-4 record and probably should be 1-3.
Week 1 the Lions lost to the 49ers 41-33. The 49ers built up a 28 point lead before the Lions came somewhat roaring back to make it closer scoring 21 or the last 24 points in the game.
Week 2 the Lions lost to the Packers 35-17. The only game where the Lions didn’t start slowly. They actually had the lead 17-14 at half. Three unanswered 2nd half TDs as the Packers blew this game out.
Week 3 the Lions lost to the Ravens 19-17. The Ravens were up 13-0 before the Lions decided to join the party. The Lions took the lead 17-16 with 1:04 left in the game. The Ravens drove the ball to the Detroit 48 and Justin Tucker nailed a NFL Record 66 yard FG to win the game. The refs missed a clear delay of game penalty that would’ve made that kick out of reach. Lions get screwed more by the refs than any other team.
Week 4 the Lions lost to the Bears 24-14. The Bears were up 21-0 after their first drive of the second half. Slow starts in 3 of 4 games this year from the Lions. Justin Fields had a respectable 209 yards passing and the Bears ran for another 188 yards on the ground. 2 first half fumbles and a turnover on downs in the first half from the Lions put this game out of reach.
Lions injury concerns
Starting C and best OL Frank Ragnow is unlikely to play with a turf toe injury. The Lions most effective pass rusher this year Romeo Okwawa is out for the year after injuring his Achilles Tendon last week. OT Taylor Decker is on IR as well as first round pick CB Jeffrey Okudah. TJ Hockenson didn’t practice Wednesday, but was back in limited action on Thursday. Penei Sewell looks to be the only active player set to miss the game. He has struggled in his first year at OT. The OL injuries should help the pass rush again this week.
Vikings injury concerns
Michael Pierce will likely be out with his elbow injury. Hoping to see Armon Watts pick up some playing time after playing well last week. Hopefully Cam Dantzler and Harrison Hand will be cleared from the COVID list prior to the game. If not, you will see a lot of Bashaud Breeland out there again. Nick Vigil has an ankle injury, but came back as a full participant on Thursday. Barr might still play over Vigil if he is truly healthy. Dalvin seems to be in the same spot he was last week. If he plays, he’ll be limping into the game. I would prefer they sit him for a game and let him heal.
My game prediction
You have to feel pretty good about this one, if it weren’t for the fact the Vikings seem to find ways to lose. I think the Detroit Defense is not good, but the offense can put up some points. It will be key for the Vikings defense to continue their strong play from last week. I just don’t see the Lions having enough to compete in this game. The Vikings are clearly the better team, but the NFL is unpredictable. Football Outsiders has the Lions ranked 29th in the league in DVOA and Minnesota right in the middle of the pack at 16. (Arizona 3rd, Cleveland 4th, Cincinnati 10th and Seattle 11th, so much for that easy start of the schedule) I see another slow start for the Lions and the Vikes getting out to an early lead with JJ and Thielen putting up some fantasy points. Mattison and Cook (hopefully more Mattison to give Cook some rest) should be able to finish off the game from there. Let’s say 31-16 Vikes over the Lions.
If they don’t win this week, it might be time to start thinking about who needs to go at the bye.