Vikings at Detroit
TV: Ch. 9 (100.3-FM)
Line: Lions by 4½
ABOUT Detroit 2012 record: 4-12
• Was last in the NFC North in 2012 and was the only team in the division with a losing record.
• The Lions had the second-ranked passing attack in the NFL in 2012 (307.9 yards per game) and the third-ranked offense in yards gained (408.8/game). But there were far too many turnovers — 16 fumbles lost and 17 interceptions — to overcome.
• QB Matthew Stafford’s 10,005 passing yards since the start of the 2011 season is the third most in the NFL over that time.
• The Lions’ 23rd-ranked running game in 2012 (100.8 yards/game) should benefit from the offseason signing of Reggie Bush. But his part in the passing game should be huge, too. Bush has the most receptions (372) of any running back in football since 2006.
PLAYER TALK detroit wr calvin Johnson
• On matching up with Vikings cornerback Chris Cook: “Chris is one of those big corners. He’s a big, lanky corner. He can run. He can play the ball a little bit. It’s always a challenge going against someone that is your size. But it makes it way more fun, the competition.”
• On whether he has Adrian Peterson-like goals for his upcoming season: “I always have my goals, you know. Not for y’all, though.”
• On whether last season’s 4-12 record was a fluke: “We had a ton of games that [we lost] by seven points or less [eight of 12]. And we were losing games, whether it was because of penalties or turnovers. That was the thing we didn’t have under control that we did have under control the year before.”
COACH SPEAK jim schwartz
• On how a 3-1 preseason might help establish a new tone: “I think winning can be a habit. We didn’t finish the year very well last year. Minnesota did. … We certainly needed to get that taste out of our mouths.”
• On what went wrong last year: “We turned it over more than we should and we didn’t get many turnovers on defense. Turnovers are the No. 1 most correlating statistic for winning in the NFL.”
• On rookie DE Ezekiel “Ziggy” Ansah, who suffered a concussion during the preseason and hasn’t practiced since Aug. 25: “You mention Jared Allen and some of the game-changing plays he’s made. It’s not fair to compare a Ziggy Ansah … to a Jared Allen. But he has some of those same skills that he can make a play.”