Preview for Minn/Detroit & Bears/Pack
This was a preview for this weekend from Realfootball365.
When the (6-5) step on the field of battle against the (4-7) this Sunday at 1 PM, it will be a match up of two
teams heading in opposite directions. The Vikings are on an upward swing winning 4 straight games, a streak
that started with a win over the Lions in week 9, and has vaulted them back into playoff contention. Meanwhile,
the Lions are on a downward spiral as they have lost 4 of 5 games including an embarrassing 27-7 loss on
Thanksgiving. After the loss Steve Mariucci was relieved of his duties as head coach. Defensive coordinator and
former head coach Dick Jauron is the interim coach for the Lions.
Amidst the losing the have endured all season there seems to be some turmoil in the locker room. After
Mariucci was fired, veteran cornerback Dre Bly called out quarterback Joey Harrington and blamed Harrington
for Mariucci being fired. Bly has since apologized to his teammates for his comments.
In his first head coaching move since taking over, Jauron has named Jeff Garcia the starting quarterback this
Sunday against the Vikings. Garcia has played in 3 games this season, completing 63.4% of his passes for 561
yards, 1 touchdown, and 2 interceptions for a 74.7 quarterback rating. In the 3 games Garcia has played in, he
has started 2 of them leading the Lions to a 1-1 record. The loss was in an overtime game against the dominant
division leading .
Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Tice is 7-0 against the Lions in his career. While Tice tries to stay perfect
against the Lions, Vikings quarterback Brad Johnson hopes to keep his record as the starting quarterback this
season perfect as well. Johnson has been instrumental in the Vikings turnaround, as has the defense and special
teams play. Since Johnson took over the Vikings have done all the little things right. The Vikings have won 11
of the last 12 meetings against the Lions.
A big key for the Lions if they want to defeat the Vikings will be the running game. It will be imperative for the
Lions to get Kevin Jones or Shawn Bryson going, if they are unable it will be another atrocious game from their
perspective. The running game would allow Garcia to do what he does best, run play action passes. This is no
easy task as the Vikings run defense has been stout in their winning streak. In the previous meeting this season,
a Vikings 27-14 win, the Lions were held to 58 yards rushing on 20 carries, and quarterback Joey Harrington
was the Lions leading rusher. Another thing the Lions must do in order to win is hold onto the football and catch
the football. In last week's pummeling at the hands of the Falcons, Lions wide receivers dropped numerous balls
that should have been caught.
The key for the will be to keep the good momentum rolling. They have to keep doing the little things right, win
the time of possession battle, stop the run, and value the football. If the Vikings can win the time of possession
battle and the turnover battle they should win. In the previous meeting between the two teams the time of
possession was nearly dead even with the Lions holding a 30:21 second advantage to the Vikings 29:39.
However, the Vikings won the turnover battle 3-1, and scored 14 points off of turnovers. Throughout their
winning streak the Vikings have protected the football on offense, added aggressive tough defense, and
tremendous special teams to beat teams. The defense has really stepped it up. If they can continue to stop the run
and make teams one dimensional the turnovers should keep coming. Look for the Vikings to be aggressive on
defense and bring tons of pressure early to Garcia. If they can jump out to an early lead, it's very possible the
Lions crowd will turn on the home team as the fans are fed up with the poor performances year in and year out,
thus taking away the Lions home-field advantage.
Key Match Ups:
Vikings DT Pat Williams vs. Lions C Dominic Raiola
Vikings LB Sam Cowart vs. Lions RB Kevin Jones
Lions DL James Hall vs. Vikings LT Bryant McKinnie
Lions WR Scottie Vines vs. Vikings FS Darren Sharper
CB Fred Smoot (Collarbone) Out
DT Kevin Williams (Knee) Out
G Toniu Fonoti (Groin) Out
DT Spencer Johnson (Knee) Probable
SS Terrance Holt (Elbow) Out
LB Donte' Curry (Thigh) Questionable
RB Paul Smith (Hamstring) Questionable
QB Jeff Garcia (Leg) Probable
RB Kevin Jones (Thigh) Probable
Bold Prediction: Vikings 24 Lions 13
The first place (8-3) will host the (2-9) this Sunday. Game time is 1:00 PM Eastern Time from ChicagoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s
The Bears have not beaten the Packers since 1993, but they hope to change that on Sunday. Chicago has given
up a league least 120 points, which is a paltry 10.9 point per game average. The Packers are tied with San
Francisco for the worst record in the NFC.
The PackersÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ Brett Favre, a three time MVP, is weathering his first losing season in Green Bay. He is, however,
21-5 lifetime against Chicago. He has also completed 63% of his passes, thrown for 6,136 yards, and tossed 51
touchdowns to just 25 interceptions against the Bears. His only loss at Soldier Field, in December of 1993, was
a career day for him when he threw for 402 yards.
Chicago took a split with Green Bay last season. It was the first of 5 wins last year for head coach Lovie Smith.
It snapped a 7 game losing streak against the Packers. This year, it looks like Green Bay will have to resign their
reign as the champions of the NFC North. The Bears look to win their first division title since 2001. They lead
second place Minnesota by two games.
The BearsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ current 7 game winning streak is the longest for the franchise since 1986, the year after the legendary
Ã¢â‚¬â„¢85 Bears won the championship. The 2005 Bears have quite the defense in their own right, last week they gave
up a touchdown for the first time in 38 opponentsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ possessions. Chicago will continue to ride their defense this
week as they look to go for 8 in a row.
What we've got here is failure to communicate.