Predicting the Detroit Lions starting defense for Week 18 matchup vs. Vikings
The Detroit Lions are gearing up for a pivotal showdown against the Minnesota Vikings this Sunday at Ford Field, with kickoff set for 1:15 p.m. ET. This clash holds significant weight for the Lions, who are vying to enhance their playoff positioning. A victory would elevate their season record to an impressive 12-5. Furthermore, if the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles both falter in their respective 4:25 p.m. ET games, the Lions stand a chance to ascend to the coveted No. 2 seed in the NFC.
For the Lions to triumph, it's crucial that their defense steps up, particularly in thwarting the Vikings' passing attack – an area where they faltered in their previous encounter. As we approach this critical game, let's delve into the projected starting defensive lineup the Lions will likely field against the Vikings.
Who will be on the Detroit Lions Starting Defense?
- EDGE: Aidan Hutchinson
- EDGE: John Cominsky
- DT: Alim McNeill
- DT: Benito Jones
- LB: Alex Anzalone
- LB: Jack Campbell
- CB: Cam Sutton
- CB: Jerry Jacobs
- NB: Brian Branch
- S: Ifeatu Melifonwu
- S: Kerby Joseph
What is New?
As you can see above, Alim McNeill is not only back with the Lions following an injury, but with Isaiah Buggs being cut earlier this week, I expect him to be slotted into the starting lineup. C.J. Gardner-Johnson is also back after his torn pectoral injury, but I still expect Ifeatu Melifonwu to be the starter as the Lions have already said they will work CJGJ back slowly.
TL;DR (too long didn't read)
- Crucial Matchup: The Detroit Lions face a vital game against the Minnesota Vikings, with potential playoff seeding implications. A win could boost their record to 12-5 and possibly secure the No. 2 seed in the NFC, contingent on outcomes of the Cowboys' and Eagles' games.
- Defensive Focus: The Lions' defense, particularly against the Vikings' potent passing game, will be key. Improvements in this area are essential, considering their struggles in the last matchup between these two teams.
- Key Defensive Changes: Alim McNeill is expected to start, following Isaiah Buggs' departure. Despite C.J. Gardner-Johnson's return from injury, Ifeatu Melifonwu is anticipated to maintain his starting position as the Lions plan to reintegrate Gardner-Johnson gradually.
The Detroit Lions' defensive unit is under the spotlight in this high-stakes game. With strategic adjustments and key players returning from injuries, the team aims to demonstrate a fortified defense against the Vikings. The success of their defense, especially in countering Minnesota's passing attack, will be a deciding factor in their pursuit of a higher playoff seed and a stronger season finish.