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What to watch for, Week 4: Lions vs. Vikings

Some things to keep an eye on when the Lions take on the Vikings on Sunday in Detroit.

Gregory Shamus - Getty Images

Let's get right into it and take a look at some things that are worth keeping an eye on when the Detroit Lions play the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday afternoon at Ford Field.

  • Touchdowns, not field goals. In recent weeks, the Lions have left a lot of points on the field by having drives stall before they find the end zone. They have had to settle for a lot of field goals, and while this has helped Jason Hanson in his quest to move up the all-time scoring list (see below), it has not helped the Lions win games. The Lions need to keep drives going long enough to reach the end zone and stop having to settle for field goals.
  • Will Mikel Leshoure play? I'm a bit surprised that Leshoure is questionable for Sunday's game. I suppose it shouldn't come as a huge shock considering he was limited in practice all week, but it would be extremely disappointing if he's unable to give it a go on Sunday. He impressed a lot of people last week, and I'd like to see him follow his debut up with another strong outing. That won't be possible if he doesn't play, though.
  • Get Calvin Johnson involved early. A big reason for the Lions' slow starts has been the lack of domination from Megatron early in games. Scott Linehan is well aware that the Lions need to change this, and he's also well aware that their game plan as of late has taken Johnson out of games at times. The good news is the Lions are working on improving Johnson's "early production," so hopefully he will be heavily involved from the very start of Sunday's game.
  • Slow down Jared Allen. Allen has had a ridiculous amount of success against the Lions. Considering the Lions are going into this game with a banged up Matthew Stafford, the last thing they need is for Allen to be getting into the backfield all the time. It's almost a given that he will get a sack or two, but the Lions need to limit the damage he does on Sunday.
  • Jason Hanson record watch. Hanson needs just nine points to tie John Carney for third on the all-time scoring list. I'd obviously prefer that the Lions score only touchdowns and don't give him a chance to tie or pass Carney this week, but based on the last couple games, Hanson has a legitimate chance to move up the list on Sunday.

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