After a hard-fought Week 1 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, the Detroit Lions were able to rebound with a convincing victory over the Washington Commanders. The Lions face a new challenge in Week 3 – A road game versus the Minnesota Vikings.
The Vikings are coming into the game following a rough primetime loss on Monday Night Football to the Philadelphia Eagles. In Week 1, the Vikings largely dominated the Green Bay Packers, and completely shut down Aaron Rodgers and the Packers’ passing attack.
With both teams searching to take ahold of the NFC North, let’s look at the keys to the game.
Can the Vikings’ defense stop the Lions’ run game?
Through the first two games of the season, the Lions have been one of the most successful rushing teams in the NFL. The Lions lead the league in yards per carry with 7.2 and runs of 40+ yards with three. They also are third in the league with a colossal 186 yards per game. The Lions hope to continue their strong rushing attack against a Vikings defense that struggled against the Eagles’ rushing attack. The Eagles were able to run for 163 yards, and averaged almost five yards per carry. If this is any indicator, a D’Andre Swift led rushing attack should flourish against the Vikings.
Will Kirk Cousins turn the ball over?
Despite a strong performance against the Green Bay Packers, Kirk Cousins struggled against the Philadelphia Eagles. Cousins threw for 221 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions, two of these interceptions were to former Lions’ cornerback Darius Slay. However, over the course of his career Cousins has fared well against the Detroit Lions. In nine career matchups against the Lions, Cousins has thrown only two interceptions, while throwing 19 touchdowns. If Cousins is able to cut down on the mistakes and manage the game, he should be able to take advantage of a young Lions’ defense.
Can Justin Jefferson expose the Lions’ secondary?
The Lions’ secondary is the most questionable personnel group on the team. In Week 1, the Lions allowed A.J. Brown racked up 155 receiving yards and in Week 2 they allowed Carson Wentz to throw for 337 yards. While his role was largely diminished in their loss to the Eagles, Justin Jefferson has the potential to have a massive game any week. With a returning Jeff Okudah and a plethora of other young corners such as Amani Oruwariye, Mike Hughes and Will Harris, the Vikings should be able to find matchups that will get Justin Jefferson open. If the Vikings are able to scheme Jefferson open just as they did Week 1, the Lions are in trouble.