Originally written on isportsweb.com  |  Last updated 9/27/12

DETROIT , MI - NOVEMBER 26: Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions passes the ball during the game against the Green Bay Packers on November 26, 2009 at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. Green Bay won the game 34-12. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

After suffering both an injury to star quarterback Matthew Stafford and a loss to the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, it’s fair to say that the Detroit Lions have been left reeling.

Sitting at 1-2, the Lions have to be concerned with the plethora of missed opportunities in their first three games.

Now Detroit faces the Minnesota Vikings, a team that is coming off a victory against the same 49ers team that beat the Lions two weeks ago.

Before everyone starts to panic, I still like the Detroit Lions to win this game.  If this game was being played in the Metrodome, I’d be thinking completely differently, but luckily for Detroit, the first of their two meetings with Minnesota will be played at Ford Field.

Yes, the Vikings just ran Alex Smith and the 49ers over last week, but when I look at Minnesota, I see a very beatable team.

But in order to do that, the Lions must have the proper game plan and execute it well.

First and foremost, running back Adrian Peterson has to be contained.  No questions asked.  If ‘All Day’ can run over the Lions front seven all day, it will be a long day for Detroit.

It is a simple task to draw up a game plan that will stop the run.  It isn’t as simple to stick to it and execute it each and every down.

Last week, the Lions looked acceptable on a majority of their defensive snaps.  It was the few that got away that caused Detroit to lose the game.  Big plays kill.  If Minnesota can come up with the same big plays that Tennessee got last week, forget about it.

Stop AP, no big plays.  That’s it.  Nothing more.

If the Lions lose this game, it had better be because Christian Ponder had a career day.  I think the kid from Florida State has done well so far in his NFL career, but he is still mistake prone.  Make him drop back enough, and good things will happen.

That is, of course, if the front four ever shows up to play.

With DT Corey Williams out, this Sunday becomes Nick Fairley’s shot to make an impact.  Obviously, I think he’ll do terrible as always, but hopefully I’m wrong.

Time to earn that paycheck, Nick

Even if Fairley continues to vastly underperform, the Lions should be able to stop the run and pressure Ponder with Ndamukong Suh and Cliff Avril.  Williams will be missed, but the talent is there.

Detroit’s biggest problem is that their hands are tied in many ways defensively.  Their secondary is poor without the presence of Louis Delmas, who will miss this week’s game.  Since they can’t guard anyone man-to-man, they can rarely afford to blitz, which in turn gives the quarterback more time.

Let’s face it.  The Lions were in a must-win situation last week and lost.  If they lose to Minnesota at home, it’s time to bring back Marty Mornhinweg and Matt Millen and go for that number one pick.

After all, the Lions desperately need a quarterback like Matt Barkley.

Excuse my digression, but the Detroit Lions have and will always upset me.  Their defense is so bad that they can’t win games despite having one of the best offenses in the league.

And now even the offense looks off.

I’m pretty sure Stafford will play on Sunday.  He has practiced, and I think he’ll get the nod if he feels ready to go.  Even without Stafford, the Lions should win this game.  Shaun Hill is an excellent backup, and feeds Calvin Johnson the ball, as any good quarterback would.

My only fear is that the defense will roll over and turn another second-year quarterback into Joe Namath.

 

Follow me on twitter @ScottPeceny

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