We’re getting closer to Week 3 in the National Football League, ladies and gentlemen, and this week will feature a pretty interesting matchup for fans of the Minnesota Vikings. We don’t always call it “interesting” when the Detroit Lions come to town, but this time we kind of have to given the start that the Lions are off to.
We had an opportunity to exchange some questions with Mike Payton from SB Nation’s blog for everything Detroit Lions, Pride of Detroit. You’ll be able to find our answers to their questions over on their site, and I’ll eventually get it onto the front page over here as well. With that, here are the answers that Mike had for us.
1) The Lions’ offense is suddenly one of the most explosive in the NFL, coming into this game tied for second in the league in points/game. What’s changed since last year to have this offense scoring points in bunches?
A lot has changed. The Lions are currently healthy, they have full on wide receiving corps after sorely lacking them last year and new OC Ben Johnson has been calling some really good games in his first couple weeks on the job. Jared Goff is also playing a lot better and it’s going a long way. Really it’s just a combination of all those things.
2) On the other hand, the defense has been a bit rough, ranking second from the bottom in the league. If you were the Vikings, where would you look to start attacking the Detroit defense?
It’s actually tough to say. While the defense has been bad, there’s been these moments of them being really good too. The Lions looked like a dominant defensive team in the first half of their game last week. Still, if I were the Vikings, I would look to get that run game going early and often. stopping the run has been difficult for this team. I would also attack the corners depending on whether or not Amani Oruwariye is back or not. Defensively the need to try to get pressure on Jared Goff.
3) The Lions have topped 35 points in each of their first two games, while the Vikings have scored 30 points in the first two weeks combined. Our friends at the DraftKings Sportsbook have set the over/under for this one at 51.5. Which way are you leaning on that figure?
I’m going to take the over here. The Lions can score a lot of points, but I believe the Vikings can too. This looks like it can be a shootout game.
4) Give us one “under the radar” player on each side of the ball that you think will play a big role in the outcome of this game.
On the offensive side, I would say Josh Reynolds. Whenever he gets on the field he makes a play. He has good chemistry with Jared Goff since they also played together in LA. On the defensive side of the ball, I would look at Jeff Okudah. I know he’s not under the radar in the usual sense since he’s a former third-round pick, but he’s under the radar in the sense that I think most thought he was a bust. He’s looked very good this season. A Jefferson vs Okudah matchup is an under-the-radar one to watch. Okudah is definitely going to have his hands full there.
5) How do you see things playing out this Sunday at U.S. Bank Stadium?
Ultimately I think it’s a shootout and the Lions take it 35-30. I know it’s not right to do it, but I’m basing some of this on the way both teams performed against the Eagles. The Lions were able to put up some big points on the Eagles while the Vikings struggled against their defense. Whatever happens, it’ll be fun. These two teams always have a good game when they get together.
Once again, thanks to Mike for taking the time to sit down and answer our questions about this week’s game. We hope you enjoyed the Q&A!