The Detroit Lions are coming off of a heartbreaking loss to the reigning NFC Champion Atlanta Falcons, but they can’t stay sad for too long as they travel to Minnesota to take on the Vikings. For the Lions (2-1) to beat the Vikings (2-1) on the road, here are three things they absolutely must do:
1Expose Xavier Rhodes
The Vikings number one cornerback has been nothing but great this season as he has shut down three of the league’s top receivers in three straight weeks. Antonio Brown (3 receptions, 28 yards), Michael Thomas (2 receptions, 22 yards), and Mike Evans (5 receptions, 53 yards) have all fallen victim to Xavier Rhodes. If the Lions want to win this game, Matthew Stafford is going to have to try to expose Rhodes and make him play off of his game. If Stafford can do that, it will open up the passing game much more and allow him to target his favorite receivers more often.
2Keep forcing turnovers
The Lions defense has done a great job forcing turnovers so far this season. They have forced seven interceptions and three fumbles in the first three games. If they can make Case Keenum (or whoever is behind center this week for the Vikings) force throws, or even throw his timing off in the slightest bit, that will give Detroit a great opportunity to get the offense back on the field. The more often the pass rush gets to Keenum, the better chance the Lions have of getting the ball back. Also, if Detroit can force Dalvin Cook to commit his first fumble of the season, that will help slow down the run game and put them in a good position to win the game.
3Establish a run game
If the Lions can finally get the run game going with Theo Riddick and Ameer Abdullah, they will have a good chance secure a win on the road. A solid run game will not only be good for both of our running backs, but it will be good for Matthew Stafford as well. The better the Lions run the ball, the more plays open up for them. If the Lions can establish the run early on in the game, then it will open the door for more passing plays and play-action. A more balanced attack on offense will definitely put Detroit in a better position to leave Minnesota with a 3-1 record.