The Detroit Lions headed to Minnesota to take on the Vikings in an NFC North battle and walked away with a hard-fought 14-7 victory. The defense showed again that it has improved and Matthew Stafford had another big game in terms of passing yards (19/31 209 yards), despite being in an onslaught of pressure from the Vikings defense throughout the contest.
Here are three takeaways from the Lions big win on the road against the Minnesota Vikings.
1. DEFENSE IS LEGIT
Week after week, this Lions defense continues to impress. Although they did not pick off any Case Keenum attempts, they did force and recover three fumbles to help them secure a victory on the road. Not only did they force three turnovers, but they held the Vikings to just seven points (with the help of a Kai Forbath missed field goal).
With the three takeaways in this game, the Lions defense now has 11 takeaways through four games this season, after turning opponents over only 14 times a year ago. If they can continue to play this good all season, Detroit could finally start to be taken as a serious threat in not only the division but the rest of the league.
2. OFFENSIVE LINE NEEDS TO BE BETTER
In an offseason where Detroit added both T.J. Lang and Ricky Wagner, Lions fans were hoping for an improved offensive line, but that’s not what they got in the game against Minnesota. They allowed Stafford to be sacked six times. Certainly a byproduct of a good Vikings defense up front to some extent, but that cannot be a recurring theme every week.
If the Lions want to continue to win throughout the rest of the season, they are going to need the O-line to play much better. If/when they begin to play better and give Stafford more time to throw the ball, then that is when Lions fans will start to see that offense put up more points and develop even further.
3. GROUND GAME SLOWLY BUT SURELY IMPROVING
For so many years, the Lions have not had a consistent run game, but it finally looks like they are starting to improve on it.
Ameer Abdullah rushed for 94 yards on 24 carries and had one touchdown. While Detroit still has yet to have a 100-yard rusher since 2013, it looks as if it could happen soon. Firmly establishing a run game will help the Detroit offense soar to new heights. If the O-line and the running game can be improved even further for next week’s matchup against the Carolina Panthers, then they should have no issue putting up points in that game.