Blue and Silver Report: A Big One Already
The Detroit Lions have lost some games in strange ways over the years, and Sunday's debacle in Nashville can be added to the list. Now Detroit, at 1-2, has to face a Minnesota Vikings team this Sunday (1 pm ET, Fox) that just beat supposedly the best team in the league at the moment.
On top of that, we're not sure who's going to play quarterback for the Lions this week.
Suddenly, Detroit, in its attempt to make the playoffs for a second-straight season, is in danger of falling two games under .500.
The Lions: The Lowdown
Detroit is coming off losing one of the wildest game we'll see this season in the NFL. The Lions trailed 20-16 heading into the fourth quarter, then took a 27-20 lead with seven minutes to go on a short Matt Stafford TD pass. But Detroit then allowed Tennessee's Darius Reynaud to return the following kick-off for a score to tie the game.
The Titans then scored twice more, once on a long catch-and-run, the other on a fumble return, to take a seemingly-insurmountable two-touchdown lead. But the Lions then pulled off a minor miracle, scoring two touchdowns in the last 20 seconds, the second on a ricochet Hail Mary, to send the game to overtime tied at 41.
But fate occasionally takes a hand, and did so when the Lions, on a fourth-and-one at the Titans' seven-yard-line, botched an attempt to pull the Tennessee defense offside, and missed out on a chance to kick a game-extending field goal.
Stafford left the game in the fourth quarter with a leg injury, replaced by Shawn Hill, who rallied the troops with those two late scores. As of Tuesday Stafford's status for Sunday was uncertain.
The Lions got some much-needed and unexpected ground production Sunday from the offensive line and RB Mikel Leshoure, who ran for 100 yards on 26 carries.
But Detroit's special teams, on top of giving up that score on a kick-off return, also allowed a TD on a punt return. In all, the Lions gave up three return scores Sunday.
Losing outright as 3.5-point favorites on the NFL picks boards also brought Detroit to 0-3 against-the-spread this season.
Minnesota, Meanwhile …
The Vikings are looking much-improved from the team that went 3-13 last year with a rookie starting at quarterback.
Minnesota opened this season with a 26-23 overtime victory over Jacksonville, then lost 23-20 at Indianapolis. Then Sunday the Vikes outplayed the Niners, who had recently been declared by many “experts” to be the best team in the league. Minnesota outrushed the Niners 146-89 in winning outright as seven-point home dogs.
Lions-Vikings: The Series
Detroit has beaten Minnesota three times in a row. Last year the Lions swept the two games from the Vikes, rallying from down 20-0 to win 26-23 in overtime at the Metrodome, then jumping out to a 21-0 lead at Ford Field and hanging on for a 34-28 victory.
The Line: Scattered
As of Tuesday afternoon, while Stafford's status is keeping most online sportsbooks from lining Sunday's game, those that had were listing the Lions at -4.5, with a total of 45.5.