The Detroit Lions are slowly getting healthier, and it’s coming at a good time. Sunday, the Lions will open up divisional play with a bout against the Minnesota Vikings. Despite four starters being labeled as questionable—center Frank Ragnow, running back D’Andre Swift, tight end T.J. Hockenson and edge defender Aidan Hutchinson—all four will play this week.
The return of Ragnow appears to have impacted how the Lions’ starting offensive line will look. With Ragnow playing center, it appears (based on warmpus) that backup center Evan Brown will be taking over the starting right guard spot, replacing Logan Stenberg, who has struggled immensely in pass blocking through two weeks. Backup guard/tackle Dan Skipper remains at left guard.
The gives Detroit a shot at pulling the road upset this week despite being six-point underdogs. The Vikings are coming off a bad loss to the Philadelphia Eagles and will be looking to right the literal ship against Detroit. The Lions are hoping to build momentum off an impressive win over the Washington Commanders in a game in which they took a 22-0 lead into halftime.
This will be a challenge to Detroit’s defense, who has allowed the second-most points through Week 2. Kirk Cousins and Justin Jefferson have proven to be a lethal weapon for every team that doesn’t have a Darius Slay on their roster, and as of a couple years ago, the Lions lack a Darius Slay. And while Dalvin Cook has yet to get really moving this year, he remains a threat to a Detroit run defense that is starting to see some improvement.
The Lions offense faces as big of a question. They have statistically been a top-five offense through two games, but how sustainable is their success? Three 50+ yard runs already is a ridiculous rate of explosive plays on the ground, but at the same time, it feels like Detroit’s passing game has yet to reach its full potential, averaging just 6.6 yards per pass attempt (21st).
The game is scheduled to kick off at 1 p.m. ET on FOX. If you can’t catch the game, we’ll be providing live scoring updates, highlights, and drive-by-drive analysis as the game progresses. Just hang out here, keep hitting refresh and enjoy some Week 3 football.
The Vikings won the toss and deferred, giving the Lions offense a chance to attack first. A 23-yard strike to DJ Chark moved the Lions quickly to midfield, and another connection to Chark—this time for 17—moved Detroit into Vikings territory. But two ineffective plays forced a third-and-12 for the Lions offense, and Detroit opted to connect on a short play in order to improve field goal chance. Austin Seibert bounced a 48 yarder off the right upright, keeping Detroit scoreless.
The Vikings took over with good field position (own 38-yard line). Minnesota started with a couple of successful runs to Dalvin Cook for a collective 12 yards. Then they hit tight end Ben Ellefson for a 12-yard gain that had linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez biting on the play action. But three straight incompletions from Kirk Cousins forced the Vikings into a 56-yard field goal attempt, and he pushed it wide right.
Goff hit Jamaal Williams for a quick 17-yard gain to kick off the drive. But, again, the Lions struggled to move the ball on the Vikings’ side of the field. This time, instead of settling for a 51-yard field goal attempt, the Lions went for it on fourth-and-5, and Goff found Amon-Ra St. Brown 30 yard catch and run, setting the Lions up first-and-goal at the 2-yard line.
On the next play, Williams punched it in for a 7-0 Lions lead.
The Vikings continued to find some success on the ground with Cook, as the Lions were dealt a tough injury to safety Tracy Walker, who limped off the field with six minutes remaining in the first quarter. The Lions defense was able to get off the field, though, as Detroit’s secondary held up in coverage on third-and-5, forcing a throwaway from Cousins.