Ben Goessling, Andrew Krammer, Mark Craig, myself and our photography team are covering the Vikings at Ford Field today for the Star Tribune.
What’s strange about the 2019 Detroit Lions is that their best performances may have come in their losses.
They opened the season with a tie against Arizona. Not impressive.
They beat the Chargers, 13-10, at home. That’s not as impressive as we might have thought, given the Chargers’ struggles.
They beat the Eagles by three points. See above.
Then they lost by four against Kansas City and would have beaten the Packers in Green Bay if not for a couple of missed calls.
What I’m watching for today:
-How the Lions start.
Their loss at Green Bay had to feel devastating, and they played on Monday night. Will the disappointment and short week affect them today?
Meanwhile the Vikings are coming off a couple of relatively easy victories and are remarkably healthy.
-Who does Darius Slay cover? The Lions’ best defensive back could stick to Adam Thielen or Stefon Diggs. Will Kirk Cousins avoid Slay? And is Slay’s iffy hamstring going to affect him?
-Eric Kendricks had an excellent game last week against Philadelphia, but was beaten on a touchdown pass when forced to cover a running back downfield. He sets up to have a big day today because the Lions rely on between-the-tackles runner Kerryon Johnson and no longer have standout pass-catching backs.
Johnson is a strong runner but is averaging just 3.3 yards per carry. The Lions like the idea of being balanced but will live and die with Matthew Stafford’s ability to get the ball downfield to Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones.
-As I wrote in today’s column, if the Vikings win today they’re looking at being 6-2 at the midpoint of the season, then could face Kansas City before Patrick Mahomes returns from injury.
Here's my Sunday column on the Vikings surviving a crisis point in their season: http://www.startribune.com/credit-vikings-for-keeping-house-in-order/563464352/
You can find my podcasts at TalkNorth.com