After another late-season fade, Lions coach Jim Schwartz might find himself looking for work once the offseason arrives.
Rick Osentoski • Associated Press,
Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh (90) is seen during the third quarter of an NFL football game against the New York Giants in Detroit, Sunday, Dec. 22, 2013. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Week 17: The Call, Detroit at Vikings
- Article by: CHIP SCOGGINS
- Star Tribune
- December 28, 2013 - 9:23 PM
One man’s prediction: For a game that has little meaning, this matchup features compelling story lines. This likely could be the final game for both coaches, Leslie Frazier and Detroit’s Jim Schwartz. And will be the final game played in the Metrodome. The Vikings season has been a major disappointment, but we predict they’ll end it on a positive note in the Dome’s swan song.
The Vikings pined for a new home for years so they probably won’t be too sad to see the Metrodome demolished. But the old place provided a significant home-field advantage that will be hard to duplicate. The noise factor undeniably played a role in their success because opposing offenses had a difficult time operating in those conditions. The final game has nothing significant at stake, but the building shouldn’t lack emotion.
Last stand together
This game will mark the 97th time Jared Allen and Kevin Williams have started together on the defensive line since becoming teammates in 2008. It likely will be their last game together, too, at least in a Vikings uniform. Both of their contracts expire after the season, and both could move on. They became perennial Pro Bowl players and close friends over the years. No doubt they want to close this chapter of their careers on a high note.
Adrian Peterson, the Vikings’ lone Pro Bowl pick, was declared out on Saturday because of groin and foot injuries. The Vikings already had ruled out Toby Gerhart because of a hamstring injury. That means Matt Asiata will get his second career start. Asiata filled in for Peterson and Gerhart against Philadelphia two weeks ago and rushed for 51 yards and three touchdowns in 30 carries.
MANO-A-MANO: A MATCHUP TO WATCH
Today: Vikings center John Sullivan vs. Lions DT Ndamukong Suh
He has started 41 consecutive games at center. He hasn’t played as well as he did in 2012 when he received votes in All-Pro voting, but he remains the leader of that position group.
Since 2010, he ranks second in the NFL in sacks by a defensive tackle with 27½. He is a disruptive force in the middle of a stout Detroit front four.
Who has the edge?
Sullivan faces probably his toughest matchup of the season with Suh and his tackle partner Nick Fairley. Sullivan and his guards, Charlie Johnson and Brandon Fusco, must be able to hold their own in that matchup in order to create some running lanes and protect quarterback Matt Cassel.
THE BIG NUMBER
467 Points allowed by the Vikings, most in the NFL. The 1984 Vikings gave up a team-record 484 points. This team’s 36 touchdown passes allowed easily is the worst in the league.
Harrison Smith, Vikings: The safety has played pretty well in two games since returning from an eight-game injury absence. Smith now is slowed because of a groin injury, but he should get plenty of opportunities to make plays against a Lions offense that attempts 40 passes per game.
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