So far, the Lions have built back some of the momentum that was lost this season by a tough early start, and they want to keep on the winning track against a good team.
How do they manage to do that? Here’s a look at the top variables to watch heading into this game.
Does Detroit Shut Down Philip Rivers Again?
The last time the Lions faced Rivers, they made him look quite overrated. The quarterback played Detroit last year with a Los Angeles team firing on all cylinders early in the season at the time. Detroit didn’t let Rivers do much on the field to the tune of just 293 yards passing and 1 interception. The Lions need to find a way to get in Rivers’ face once again in order to slow him down. The pass rush is coming on strong and Rivers is still effective even in his older age. The Lions have to make him look average again by flying around on defense and playing more aggressive.
Is This the Biggest Lions Game in 3 Years?
The Lions are 3-3 while the Colts are 4-2. Detroit’s record seems average until you consider they have won a pair of games and seemingly launched themselves back into the playoff picture. With that in mind, this contest has the feel of a definite swing game in that it could help the Lions theoretically later on in the year by either being win No. 9 or 10 depending on if the team is able to take care of business in the “softer” part of their schedule. Obviously, no game is completely easy, but the Lions could feel even better after a hypothetical win over the Colts and rattle off a run. Detroit hasn’t faced a game of this magnitude since late in the 2017 season when they were fighting for their playoff lives. While a loss wouldn’t end things by any means, a win feels like it would be absolutely huge for the cause.
Can the Defense Keep the Momentum?
The Lions defense has been playing well in recent weeks, and quietly did a nice job to prevent the Jaguars and Falcons from getting comfortable and making too many plays. Suddenly, the Lions seem to have a little life and juice on the defensive side and the Colts’ offense has been slow starting this season. Detroit has a chance to put them behind early and play a big role in stemming the tide in the game as a whole. The Lions have dictated matters in recent weeks, and that has been good to see. It’s time for them to keep up the pressure, though.
Will the Offense Find Its Footing?
Detroit’s offense, on the other hand, has been leaving points on the field. Though they made all the winning plays in crunch time during Week 7, the team could have blown out the Falcons in what became a pretty close game. In order for the Lions to assert themselves, they need to find a way to get into the end zone more and stop settling for field goals, especially after turnovers. A good defense like this will provide an interesting challenge for the team, but they had better be ready to score during this game.
Who Else Returns Off Injury?
The Lions are still a bit dinged up with cornerbacks Justin Coleman and Desmond Trufant still hobbled. Either could be a key player for the team’s backfield toward putting it altogether and improving the defense. The Lions seem to be getting a bit healthier as the season wears on, and either one of these returns or both would figure in huge come the late stages of the season. Coleman looked ready last week but sat, and either could come back now and make a big difference starting in Week 8.