Nov 4, 2012; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) throws the ball during the first half of the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-US PRESSWIRE

Vikings vs. Lions Preview: 5 Questions With SideLion Report

Five questions with Zac Snyder of SideLion Report

1. The Lions appear to have gotten it back on-track after some struggles. What’s been the key?

A: The offense is back on track and playing a much more consistent game. For a while it seemed that they were only capable of producing when down in the fourth quarter but they have turned that round, especially in the last two games. Oh, that and not giving up kick and punt returns for touchdowns.

2. I was surprised to see Calvin Johnson only has one TD on the year. What’s going on there?

A: He and Matthew Stafford just haven’t been able to connect in the end zone. I think it is just one of those things that happens from time to time rather than a sign of an obvious problem. Johnson has been hampered by a knee injury but he hasn’t seen a steep drop off in catches or yards, the lack of touchdowns is the only “problem” area. The Lions only had nine rushing touchdowns last year but have ten already this year. The Lions haven’t been as reliant on passing touchdowns this year and that has hit Calvin Johnson on the stat sheet.

3. When last we met the Lions’ defensive line was not playing that well. How are they looking now?

A: Kyle Vanden Bosch stated before the year that he expected the Lions to lead the league in sacks. The chances of that happening look slim after coming up with just one sack over the last two weeks. The biggest problem is they just aren’t consistent in getting after the quarterback. They pressured and harassed Michael Vick in a win over the Eagles and sacked Jay Cutler five times on Monday Night Football but those kind of performances have been the exception, not the rule.

4. Here’s a little curveball question: Except for Barry Sanders, which Lions player of the past would you most like to have for this year’s team?

A: Wow, that is a great question. I will limit my choices to the players that have been with the Lions since my NFL consciousness began in about 1990. From there, my choice is framed by the current state of the team and its needs. Lomas Brown, Herman Moore or Robert Porcher would be great answers but I feel that a different answer would have a bigger impact on this current group of Lions. Drumroll please…Bennie Blades. It might seems like an answer out of left field but the Lions could use a player like Blades at safety, especially with Louis Delmas now out of action again. An honorable mention goes to Kevin Glover who went to three straight Pro Bowls as a center for the Lions.

5. Catching the Bears doesn’t look like a very realistic prospect right now for Detroit but they’re still in the thick of the wild card race. Assess their chances of getting in the playoffs this year.

A: The Lions are playing much better but I would put their chances at making the playoffs somewhere below 50%. The losses to the Titans and Vikings earlier in the season could prove fatal and the competition in the NFC for that last playoff berth will be fierce. Catching the Bears is looking impossible at this point and the Packers will likely cruise to the NFC’s top wild card berth. I think the remaining schedule sets up better for the Seahawks and perhaps even the Cowboys if they can ever figure their stuff out.

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