coleryan Posts:11990 Followers:20
On 09/02/2013 10:14 AM in NFL

Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions: Preview and Pick

Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions: Preview and Pick [/B
]
The Minnesota Vikings and the Detroit Lions will kick off the 2013 season with a divisional battle featuring some of the best players in the game today. Vikings running back Adrian Peterson will attempt to rush into the history books, while the Lions will look to showcase Calvin Johnson, the best wide out in football.

[B]Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions Odds


The lines makers opened up the point spread on this game with the Lions as (-3) point favorites. However the public money is flowing in on the Lions and that has caused this number to be pushed in favor of the home team. Currently this line can be found at Detroit (-5) at several reputable offshore sportsbooks.

The Lions will be at home, but they still have to play well to make up for a horrible season a year ago. Johnson is arguably the biggest and best target in the NFL, but he only managed to find the end zone five times a year ago. Quarterback Matthew Stafford will look to get the big play going early and often to start the season. To aid the offense, the Lions signed running back Reggie Bush in the off season. Bush will be a rushing and a receiving threat out of the backfield and will play the same role that Darren Sproles has played in the past for the New Orleans Saints.

The Vikings defense will get a big test against this high octane offense; however the Vikings offense will be under the microscope. Everyone knows that Adrian Peterson will run the ball and get plenty of carries against the Lions, but if quarterback Christian Ponder can play well, the Vikings may return to the playoffs again this season.

To help Ponder get better on offense the Vikings acquired veteran wide receiver Greg Jennings and also bolstered the weaponry in the draft. The football betting trends reveal some very interesting angles on this contest.

The Vikings are 6-2-1 against the spread (ATS) in their last nine games on turf and 4-1 ATS in the last five games overall. The Lions are the better team and the favorite, but the trends suggest they will have problems. The Lions are 2-8 ATS in their last 10 against the NFC North, 5-16 ATS in their last 21 against the NFC, and 4-10 ATS in their last 14 games on turf.

These two teams are eager to get the season started and make a run for the NFL playoffs.

Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions Pick

With plenty of time to go before the start of the regular season, I will wait to release my pick on this game until we get closer to game day.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 4-8-1
coleryan Posts:11990 Followers:20
09/03/2013 03:00 PM

The Vikings, coming off a 10-6 season, are one of the strongest teams in the NFC today. Their mainstay, Adrian Peterson, is coming off one of the greatest rushing seasons of all-time and hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down (2,097 yards, 12 touchdowns). Although he won’t have as a successful season as he had last season, Peterson will be as equally as effective for the Vikings.

In addition the Vikings had some big off-season signings in former Packer Greg Jennings (former Pro Bowler and 1,000 yard receiver in 3 straight seasons) and 29th overall pick out of Tennessee Cordarrelle Patterson (778 yards and 5 touchdowns last season for the Volunteers). These additions as well as the return of 2nd year TE Kyle Rudolph (493 yards, 9 touchdowns) reassure Christian Ponder of some reliable weapons after a pretty good rookie season with less-than-reliable receivers (considering Adrian Peterson’s role in the offense).

For the Lions, they had a very productive off-season, signing former Miami RB Reggie Bush, QB Matthew Stafford, and former Bears DE Isreal Idonije. This offense has the ability to really make their mark on the NFC North this season if they can combine their receiving talent with their deep rushing talent in an NFC North that has some of the best backs in the game. Calvin Johnson, coming off a NFL record setting season (122 receptions, 1,964 yards), is primed to have another great season with Matthew Stafford under center. And although Stafford did have over 4,900 yards, he only threw for 20 touchdowns and did throw 17 interceptions. He’s going to have to make some better decisions, especially when facing tough pass defenses like the Vikings’.

If the Lions are going to have any luck in week one, they must utilize Reggie Bush (986 yards 8 total touchdowns) and utilize him well. Bush’s speed and ability to run in the open field make him one of the more underrated backs in the game. I believe the combination of Leshoure and Bush, when used correctly, can be a potentially very dangerous running attack in the NFL.

Both the Vikings and Lions have similar defenses, both can stop the run and the pass, but unlike the Vikings, the Lions are still susceptible to giving up big points (Lions allowed 27.3 points per game in 2012).

  • Last 7 Days Record: 4-8-1
coleryan Posts:11990 Followers:20
09/04/2013 03:16 PM

Calvin Johnson is the game's most prolific receiver. Adrian Peterson is the game's most prolific tailback. Johnson nearly became the first wideout to eclipse 2,000 yards receiving last year. Peterson did become the seventh player to eclipse 2,000 yards rushing. They are two of the best to ever catch and rush a football, respectively.

Viking coach Leslie Frazier says he thinks both players are capable of replicating their feats -- or even surpassing them, in Johnson's case. He said Johnson is capable of cracking 2,000 yards receiving, after breaking Jerry Rice's single-season receiving record with 1,964 yards last year.

"There are so many factors that go into a guy achieving those kind of goals, or those numbers, that he and Adrian achieved," Frazier said Wedneday during a teleconference with reporters. "But he's talented enough and he's more than capable."

Peterson rushed for 2,097 yards last year, just 8 short of Eric Dickerson's all-time record. A remarkable season, especially considering he was just months off an ACL injury. "You don't ever put anything out of his reach," Frazier said. "So 2,000 yards, when it comes to Adrian Peterson, is realistic.

"But I don't think, in Adrian's case, that's the ultimate goal. The ultimate goal is to bring a world championship here to Minnesota, so it would be a nice individual honor, I guess. But that's not what drives him or what motivates him to play the game."

Peterson, like Johnson, didn't do much this preseason. He appeared in only one game and didn't record a carry on two snaps as Minnesota protected him heading into Sunday's opener in Detroit.

He'll be at 100 percent. And a 100-percent Peterson is a scary Peterson. "I just didn't see the advantage of putting him at risk in the preseason," Frazier said. "Although I know he needs some work, there's some things that we have to get done from a timing standpoint, and I have to weigh bringing our offense together versus putting him at risk."

Johnson played two series in Detroit's preseason opener, then took the rest of the exhibition season off. He's returned to practice this week and, like Peterson, should be 100 percent.

Should be quite the show.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 4-8-1
coleryan Posts:11990 Followers:20
09/05/2013 02:04 PM

Jared Allen remembers his early games in the NFL. And that is exactly why the Minnesota Vikings defensive end will not take Detroit Lions left tackle Riley Reiff lightly.

“To be honest you have to prepare and bring your A game,’’ the 31-year-old Allen said.“Young guys are trying to make a name in the league too. How else do you make a name beside beating established players. “I remember when I was young I got to go against Orlando Pace — I was licking my chops I was excited,’’ Allen said. “I expect him to come out full of piss and vinegar, grit and ready to rock and roll.

“In this league you never want to take anybody for granted or approach anything thing because they’re young you’re going to have an easy day because you will be humbled,’’ said Allen, the five-time Pro Bowler.

One edge Allen certainly has on Reiff is verbosity. Reiff resembles Jeff Backus, the Lions’ long-time left tackle who retired, right down to his quiet ways.

When the schedule came out, Reiff was not foaming at the mouth knowing that in his first full season as a starter (he had one start last season against Houston on Thanksgiving), he would be facing Allen, one of the best in the business. “He’s been with the Vikings I don’t know how many years,’’ Reiff said. “I knew he’d be starting he’s a good player, I’m looking forward to the matchup.’’

Reiff, a first-round draft pick in 2012, got a taste of the NFL last season in his one start and then when he lined up outside the tackles in a special package. While there was competition at right tackle and right guard in training camp, left tackle had Reiff’s name on it. Getting the best of Allen, who has 117 career sacks in nine seasons, on Sunday would get Reiff off to a solid start.

“That would be a lot for us to get him (Jared Allen) blocked. He’s a great player and he makes a lot of plays,’’ coach Jim Schwartz said. “This isn’t Riley Reiff’s first start in the NFL. He started against a very good Houston team with some very good outside pass rushers last year and stepped in and did a nice job on a very short week.

“He played a lot of football for us last year. I’m sure that Jared Allen is going to be ready. Riley is going to be ready. All of our guys are going to be ready,’’ Schwartz said.

Allen said it will be a little strange not to be lining up against Backus. “It should be interesting,’’ Allen said. “He had a notebook on me, I had a notebook on him. It makes you realize you’re getting up there.’’

Backus, who shows up occasionally at practice, still keeps in touch with Reiff and vice-versa. He’ll call the retiree for tips this week on how to handle Allen.

“That’s a very important matchup in this game. Jared Allen is a guy that makes a bunch of sacks, turns the ball over a lot, can force you into holding penalties and stuff,’’ Schwartz said. “Riley, or whoever is lined up against Jared Allen, is going to have to play their very best.”

  • Last 7 Days Record: 4-8-1
coleryan Posts:11990 Followers:20
09/06/2013 01:58 PM

The Detroit Lions are finding themselves on the wrong end of preseason lists.

First the team earned the dubious distinction of having the league's oldest roster, and now, according to an ESPN report, the Lions have the least amount of homegrown talent. Detroit is slated to open the regular season with 28 players on its roster who have never played a game for another team. That's 22 fewer than the league-leading Green Bay Packers.

To be fair, Martin Mayhew inherited one of the worst rosters in NFL history when he was promoted to general manager in 2008. Outside of a handful of building blocks such as Calvin Johnson, Gosder Cherilus and Cliff Avril, and a few reliable veterans like Dominic Raiola, Jeff Backus and Jason Hanson, Mayhew had no option other than to clean house.

While Mayhew's draft record is certainly better than his predecessor, he's still had his fair share of swings and misses, including several higher-round choices, where finding production is paramount to success.

The rookie general manager did exceptionally well in his first draft. His first four selections -- quarterback Matthew Stafford, tight end Brandon Pettigrew, safety Louis Delmas and linebacker DeAndre Levy -- all remain with the team and are key contributors.

The biggest bust was wide receiver Derrick Williams. A third-round pick, he caught a total of nine passes and never made the expected impact as a kick returner.

Mayhew got aggressive and rolled the dice in 2010, trading back into the first round to select Jahvid Best. The running back had blazing speed and big-play ability, but the injury history was known. After one and a half productive seasons, concussions ended his career.

Also that year, the Lions took cornerback Amari Spievey early in the third round and immediately converted him to safety. After three inconsistent seasons, he was released this offseason.

Mayhew did even worse in 2011. After two years, just two of the team's five selections are still on the roster. Nick Fairley, the first-round pick, is obviously an integral piece on the defense, while running back Mikel Leshoure is third on the depth chart heading into the 2013 campaign.

The 2011 class also saw another high-risk, high-reward pick go horribly wrong. The team believed wide receiver Titus Young was past the character issues that got him suspended at Boise State, but that proved to not be the case.

After a tumultuous year that saw him sucker punch a teammate and intentionally sabotage plays during a game, Young was released by the organization.

But there are signs things may be turning around for Mayhew and the Lions. Detroit has done a better job stockpiling selections over the past two seasons. Of the 17 picks the team has made, all but defensive end Ronnell Lewis remain on the active roster, practice squad or injured reserve.

The team has also signed four undrafted free agents the past two years -- Patrick Edwards, Kellen Moore, Joseph Fauria and LaAdrian Waddle -- who are on the 53-man roster.

Obviously, the long-term impact of the past two draft classes remains to be seen, but the Lions appear to have found long-term starters at offensive tackle, defensive end, cornerback, guard, punter and wide receiver.

But the impact from the high-profile misses in recent years still lingers. The free agent acquisition of Reggie Bush replaces Best, but Bush is four years older and more expensive. And finding a No. 2 receiver to replace Titus Young has been problematic, to say the least.

The Lions can't keep spending in free agency to fill their holes. That's how you end up with the league's oldest roster. Mayhew needs his last two draft classes to make a significant impact in 2013. His short-term future and the franchise's long-term future depend on it.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 4-8-1
coleryan Posts:11990 Followers:20
09/08/2013 08:41 AM

Pick

This could be one of the best teams that the Lions have put on the field in years. Reggie Bush will make this offense even more explosive that they have been in the past and teh defense is upgraded. The Vikings are all about AP, and Ponder will be teh X-factor and I can't see him getting it done.

Lions -4

  • Last 7 Days Record: 4-8-1