By Dave Birkett
Detroit Free Press Sports Writer
September 30, 2012
1) Hip to be square: Matthew Stafford left last week's crushing loss to the Titans with a hip injury and sat out practice Wednesday, but he'll be on the field today.
Stafford said the injury, which first popped up in practice last week, didn't affect him last Sunday until he was forced to leave in the final minutes of regulation. If his mobility is an issue today, it could be trouble with Jared Allen bearing in off the edge. Even if it's not, the Lions need Stafford to play better in the red zone, where they've seen many drives stall out in recent weeks.
2) Yo, Adrian: Running back Adrian Peterson's return from a torn ACL has been nothing short of remarkable. Not even nine months removed from surgery, Peterson carried 25 times for 86 yards last week and led the Vikings to a stunning upset of the 49ers. Percy Harvin leads the NFL in receptions and Christian Ponder has made remarkable strides in his second season at quarterback, but the key to a victory today starts with stopping a back who has averaged 5.3 yards carry against them during his career.
3) Defense rests: The Lions have lost four of their last five games dating back to last year and have given up an average of 36.8 points per game in that span. Their secondary allowed two 60-plus-yard touchdowns last week, and complicating matters, the Lions will be without key defensive starters Louis Delmas and Corey Williams today because of knee injuries. There's no easy solution for the Lions' defensive woes, but they have to get better fast if they want to return to the playoffs.
At home, against a young QB whom they intercepted three times last year, this is the time to do it.