It’s going to be one of the biggest games of the year for the Lions, a matchup with the Los Angeles Rams to keep up and keep pace in the NFC North. The Packers are starting to take off while the Vikings are well ahead of the pack with undefeated record leaving Detroit taking on water. Matthew Stafford is going to need to utilize all of his targets this Sunday if the team wants to continue their winning ways.

It’s not news that this team is banged up. In fact, it’s been well documented that health hasn’t been on the Lions side thus far. A fresh body will be on the field this weekend though in the form new running back Justin Forsett. With Ameer Abdullah injured for the foreseeable future and Dwayne Washington limping, the majority of the duties have been left to Theo Riddick and Zach Zenner. Even though the team has been in rough shape as of late though, the odds makers are on their side this weekend. The NFL betting line at favors the Lions by -3.5 at home on Sunday.

Now is Forsett the answer? Probably not. He’s averaging 3.16 yards per carry and is turning 31 this Friday. With all of that said though, a fresh body is a fresh body and God knows the Lions need a few of those.

A huge key to the game will be Golden Tate needing to step his game up. While he hasn’t seen the amount of snaps he did last year and has been admittedly underutilized, the wideout has still seen an average of 6.2 targets come his way per game. To his credit, he’s brought in 83% of the throws he’s seen but still hasn’t been trusted with the deep ball. Well, he may get finally get his chance to shine.

Marvin Lewis has been Stafford’s main target with tight end Eric Ebron playing a supporting role but against a solid Rams D, the Lions will have to spread the ball around a lot more. Not to mention, if their run game continues to be less than satisfactory, you’d have to think the deep ball would become a pretty viable option on a fairly regular basis.

What the Lions do have going for them is that while LA’s secondary is fairly strong, their run defense currently ranks 5th giving up 122.2 YPG on the ground. That begs the question, should Jim Caldwell trust his ground game? We’ve seen how effective it’s been so far, so it’s a bit of a stretch to think the Lions will keep it on the turf against the Rams.

Regardless of how they do it, a win would be a wonderful thing this weekend for the Detroit’s playoff hopes.