W2W4: Detroit Lions vs. Minnesota


ALLEN PARK, Mich. – The Detroit Lions have their regular-season home finale against the Minnesota Vikings. Here are four things to watch heading into Sunday.

1. Potential last games: A lot has been made of the possibility that this could be Ndamukong Suh’s final home game for the Lions. His contract is up after the season and there has been no indication of which way he’ll lean when it comes to who he’ll play for in 2015 and beyond. He isn’t the only Detroit player who might be playing in his last home game with the Lions. Center Dominic Raiola and left guard Rob Sims are both in contract years. Spoke with both of them this week about it. Raiola said he hasn’t thought about it. Sims said he has and “it has been a [heck] of a ride, if it ends.” Sims said he’s thought about the possibility intermittently throughout the season, but has said he would like to return. Sims said he hasn’t talked about it with Raiola, but there’s a chance the two will discuss it Saturday night at the team hotel.

2. Can Matthew Stafford keep it up: The quarterback is in the midst of the hottest stretch of his career after completing better than 75 percent of his passes in back-to-back games. He also threw for 300 yards in back-to-back games. Consequently, the Lions' offense has looked like the team had hoped it would for most of the season. If Stafford is able to keep up these new ways – 75 percent again might be unrealistic, but 68 to 70 percent is possible – then the Lions might have found enough offensively to make a jump as a team.

3. Defensive line pressure: The Lions sacked Minnesota quarterback Teddy Bridgewater eight times when these teams played in October. While Bridgewater has improved since then, so has the Lions' defensive front. They have been essentially eliminating the run games of the opposition in the second half of the season, forcing them to pass to win. While this might play well against the Vikings, who have a quarterback who can run in Bridgewater, the pressure could force the rookie into mistakes again against Detroit.

4. Finish strong: This has been an issue for the Lions during the past few seasons and while this team has already shown the propensity to be different than previous iterations. The Lions are in the midst of a playoff race again and a victory Sunday against Minnesota would put Detroit in a really good spot for a potential playoff push. It would also continue the recent trend for the Lions of winning games they are supposed to win. That might sound like an easy thing, but it’s a big thing for Detroit.