Last week the Minnesota Vikings came out with an aggressive game plan at home vs the Niners, and it paid off as they got to 2-1 on the year with a rather dominating 24-13 win.
This week they try to push their mark to 3-1 as they head to Detroit, where the Lions need a win badly after falling in Tennessee last week in overtime to the Titans.
Detroit will have to stop Vikings QB Christian Ponder, who seems to be starting to take some leaps forward in his second season with Minnesota.
Ponder is second in the NFL with a 70.1 completion percentage and fifth in passer rating at 104.9. He went 21 of 35 for 198 yards and two touchdowns in the win last week.
“The more plays I get, the more film I watch, it slows down and I just feel so much more comfortable in what I’m doing,” said Ponder. “And it helps when the players around you are playing so well.”
Two weeks ago Ponder almost had a comeback win in Indy, only for the Vikings D to get picked apart at the end by rookie QB Andrew Luck in a last second loss.
Minnesota also shut down the Niners offense, with Alex Smith not having a lot of time to sit back in the pocket to throw. If Matthew Stafford can’t go, it could be a long day for backup Shaun Hill.
Stafford was hurt last week, but did take the practice field Thursday and it appears that he will be able to be under center. “I feel better than I did yesterday,” Stafford said Thursday. ”We’ll see how it goes. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.”
Minnesota’s D is giving up 19.7 points per game, ninth lowest in the league. Stafford and Detroit needs a run game to lean on, with Mikel LeShoure going over 100 yards last week.
The Vikings with Ponder will try to pick on the Detroit DB’s, with lingering injuries to the defensive backfield, the Lions are allowing 31.3 points per game – sixth highest in the league.
Last week Jake Locker and the Titans put up 437 yards and a league-record five scoring plays of 60 or more yards – two on passes – in the 44-41 overtime loss.
The Vikings are playing with confidence, while the Lions need to get back to big plays themselves. I like the attitude that Leslie Frazier had in the game plan last week, and think Minnesota will again score a win over a playoff team from a year ago.
Minnesota 27 Detroit 21