Rich Gabrielson/Icon SMI - He will come on but one foot...and he will still be dangerous.
The Lions lay in wait of the remnants of the Minnesota Vikings team this Sunday. It will be a game of attrition as both teams are already withered and injured up and down each roster.
The Vikings will play without starting rookie QB Christian Ponder or perhaps their best defensive back Chris Cook--who did very well against Calvin Johnson. They will play with a hobbled Adrian Peterson, who comes in on one good ankle. They will come in with a 2-10 record and players in fear of their jobs.
There would be little argument that this should be a blow out...but I fear it will not be. This is a trap game.
Ndamukong Suh is still out, finishing his two game suspension for ultimate stupidity.
Kevin Smith may not play on a bad ankle.
Nick Fairly, Suh's replacement, is most likely out with a sore foot.
Delmas and Houston are most likely out too. So the defense is much depleted in the face of...a hobbled Peterson and a third string quarterback...In Lions' lore, this is the kind of game that has shown itself over and over again--a team that the Lions really have little right in losing to. A struggling skeleton of a squad with absolutely nothing to play for, while the Lions are in the middle of playoff run.
The Lions need this game. They need to win this one and the Raiders and the Chargers and to head into the graveyard of Lions' failures past, Lambeau, at 10-5...to have real hope to make the playoffs for the first time in more than 12 years...
Will this Lions team, which has broken so many tendencies and streaks in this season, be able to break this last major drought? I'm not sure. They could have cemented their place in the lead of the playoff race if they had stepped up to the challenge of Drew Brees and the Saints...but they didn't. Instead they lost their heads in the pressure and screams of the Superdome and fell back to the pack...can they step forward this time?
Minnesota Offense vs Detroit Defense
The Lions have typically done a pretty good job of containing the Vikings best weapon, Adrian Peterson. This week, he comes into the game hobbled on one bad ankle.
The Vikings will start Joe Web at QB, an inexperienced running quarterback without much of an arm. Web was so good in his short stint last season that the Vikings saw fit to reach for a third round QB with their #1 pick and grab Ponder.
Perhaps the best option the Vikings have is WR and returner Percy Harvin, especially since the Lions have had such a hard time covering kick offs and punts this season.
Minnesota Defense vs Detroit Offense
Jared Allen was nice enough to give the Lions adequate billboard material this week. Allen was nice enough to say in the press that "if (he) had to live in Detroit, (he'd) drown himself in that river."
But I'm sure that nobody on the team saw that...
The Lions offense SHOULD manhandle the Vikings defense. The only corner that seemed to have any success for them against Megatron will not be playing. If the Lions can control the defensive ends Jared Allen and Bryan Robison (who had a good game the first time the two teams met, but will be playing injured this time) then there should be no problem scoring enough points.
But...Allen has always feasted on Jeff Backus...so there is definitely still room for concern.
This is a rivalry game so you "throw the records out the window," but every indicator, prognosticator and trend says the Lions should still win this game despite the injuries and suspensions....and I hope they do...but something still has me really worried.