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9/27/15. Broncos at Lions. Sunday Night Football. NBC, 8:30pm.

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Underdogs again in the national spotlight for the home opener.

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Presents the following thread:

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(2-0) @ (0-2)

Your Detroit Lions

vs

The Denver Broncos

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NFC Conference

Week 3

Location: Ford Field, Detroit Mich.

Date: September 27th, 2015

Time: 8:30pm EST

This game is a presentation of:

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Television Broadcast Provided by:

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NBC

Radio Broadcast Provided by:

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Lions at Vikings highlights:

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Lions at Vikings slowlights:

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Ngata wired for sound vs Vikings

Adrian Peterson propels Vikings to 26-16 victory over Lions

MINNEAPOLIS -- There were plenty of dark days for Adrian Peterson and the Vikings last year. Their opener this season was ugly, too.

Peterson's first game in Minnesota in 658 days was a whole lot prettier. With 192 total yards that trumped a rash of second-half fumbles, Peterson relished his warm welcome and propelled the Vikings to a 26-16 victory Sunday over the Detroit Lions.

"The weather was beautiful, and it was just a great day for football," Peterson said, adding: "It felt good to be back home." The last time Peterson took the field in Minnesota was Dec. 1, 2013, also the date of his previous 100-yard game.

Out of the league nearly of last season for the child abuse case against him, Peterson received a pregame standing ovation and a couple of "AP! AP! AP!" chants from the fans on a sun-soaked afternoon. He rushed 29 times for 134 yards. "He's got to hold on to the ball better, but he ran with a vengeance," coach Mike Zimmer said. Teddy Bridgewater played a smart, sharp game for Minnesota (1-1) after looking lost Monday at San Francisco, throwing one touchdown and running for another while completing 14 of 18 passes for 153 yards and no turnovers.

Matthew Stafford took a beating in the pocket for Detroit (0-2), which fell behind 14-0 early in the second quarter and netted just 38 yards rushing on 16 attempts against a defense gashed for 230 yards on the ground by the 49ers. "I'm still wondering why we played like we did," Zimmer said, adding: "I'm smart enough to understand that was one game."

Stafford, who had X-rays on his chest and ribs afterward after playing through a sore throwing arm last week at San Diego, was intercepted by defensive end Justin Trattou and finished 32 for 53 for 286 yards and two scores, both after the two-minute warning of each half. "That kid takes hits and he gets back up and just keeps on ticking," Vikings defensive end Brian Robison said. Said Lions coach Jim Caldwell: "One hit is one too many in my book."

After only two catches against the Chargers, Calvin Johnson was targeted 17 times. He had 10 receptions for 83 yards including a nifty tiptoe touchdown with 34 seconds left before halftime. "We're going to be all right. We've got to play a little bit better. We've got to get some guys healthy and get ready to go," Stafford said.

Peterson surpassed the 31 yards he rushed for at San Francisco on his fourth attempt against the Lions, a 25-yard gain behind new right guard Mike Harris. Peterson also had a 49-yard reception, when Bridgewater underhanded him the ball to stave off a sack. He wasn't flawless, though.

Three carries in the second quarter netted 1 yard. Peterson missed the block on the Bridgewater toss.

One play after Captain Munnerlyn ripped the ball from Lions wide receiver Lance Moore and Andrew Sendejo returned it to the 6, Peterson gave it back on a tackle by James Ihedigbo. Peterson lost one later in the third quarter, too, but the end zone recovery was negated by Jason Jones lining up in the neutral zone. Zach Line followed with his first career touchdown for a 23-10 lead, preceding a missed extra point by sputtering kicker Blair Walsh. Ihedigbo forced another fumble in the fourth quarter that Peterson recovered, shortly before Walsh's second short field goal. On a busy day for the replay booth, that call was upheld.

Notes:

Home opener a 'better not lose'

Tim Twentyman and Mike O'Hara discuss the importance of the home opener, improvements needed and more.

It isn’t the way the Lions wanted to start the season, but their 0-2 record is what it is.

They did not play consistently well in any phase in their road losses to San Diego and Minnesota, and the next three games might be the toughest stretch of the season. It starts Sunday night with a home game against the Broncos. After that is a road game against Seattle on Monday Night TV, then home against the dangerous Arizona Cardinals.

Is this the critical point in the schedule? And is it too early to have a must win game?

Mike: I’m answering this with a question. Do the Lions want to be playoff contenders? Of course they do. So yes, this is a critical game. Is it a must-win? Probably not, because there is no way of predicting what will happen in the last 13 games. Instead of “must win,” I’d call it “better not lose.” If we’re talking about the Lions being in a hole at 0-2, imagine how much deeper it would be at 0-3. Maybe I’m leaning toward “must win,” but I’m not going that far -- yet.

Tim: It’s hard to call any game in the first quarter of the season “must win” because there's so much more football to be played yet, but this is pretty close. It’s the home opener. It’s a chance to come home and exorcise the demons of the first two weeks against a good Denver team – but not a great Denver team. It’s always easier to operate on offense at home, and the defense needs to feed off the home crowd -- they're hoping with All-Pro linebacker DeAndre Levy playing with them for the first time this year. Heading to Seattle, who is also desperate after an 0-2 start, with an 0-3 record will likely be too much to overcome, in my opinion. The Lions need a win in the worst way Sunday night on national television.

So, what’s the No. 1 thing they have to accomplish vs. Denver to secure the first win of the season?

Mike: It’s an easy answer: it all starts up front, on offense and defense. If they don’t play better up front, all the analysis about targets, play-calling, whether they blitz too much or too little, won’t matter. Protecting the quarterback and opening lanes for the running game falls on the offensive line. And that’s true of every team at every level of football. It’s the same with the defense. It has not dominated except in short periods.

On offense, the key area is the running game. If the offense can’t establish a consistent run threat, the passing game will suffer. On defense, it’s a little more complicated. There hasn’t been enough pressure on the quarterback, and opposing quarterbacks have completed 35 of 41 passes in the last six quarters. That is not winning football. Not even close.

Tim: Couldn’t agree more, Mike. But the offensive line has been the bigger culprit for me.

The Lions have the fewest carries (32) and second-fewest rushing yards (107) in the NFL after two weeks. Some are quick to blame offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi for that stat, and he deserves some of the blame, but to me that’s more of an indictment on the offensive line. I was at that game in Minnesota sitting right next to you and I didn’t see any running lanes open up. Did you? I didn’t see a whole lot of clean pockets for Stafford to step up and deliver the football in, or have time for plays to develop down the field to Calvin Johnson and Co. All I saw was contact in the backfield, few places to run the football and a quarterback running for his life.

The defense hasn’t played well, we all know that, especially in the middle of the defensive line and linebacking corps, but the Lions rank 31st in the NFL in time of possession (25:21). They have just four rushing first downs, the fewest in the NFL. They aren't doing the defense any favors. The Lions need to be better in every phase, but the offensive line needs to be the first one to step up Sunday.

Mike: We agree with what’s wrong, so let’s fix it. I win the coin flip, so I get to pick the side. I’ll take -- the long-snapper and kicker!!!!

Just kidding.

These two units -- offense and defense -- have been together for two years, with the same coordinators, same core players.

The offense has to find an identity, and it can’t be from playing out of desperation, just winging the ball. I’d focus on Ameer Abdullah a little more. He had the majority of carries against the Vikings, but it was only six carries to four for Joique Bell. That’s not enough to make any judgment, but Abdullah is more of a threat than Bell is, and Bell looks like he still is far short of being healthy in his recovery from the injuries that kept him out of the preseason.

On defense, clamp down on coverage and give the front four an extra half second or so to break down the Broncos’ protection, which hasn’t been good. The Lions aren’t facing Peyton Manning in his prime. He’s still smart, but his body can’t do what his mind tells him to do.

Tim: The stats may indicate that the Lions need major fixing on both sides of the football, but I don’t believe that to be the case. It's some of the little things. The offense has to be more balanced, which means we need to see more Ameer Abdullah. Joique Bell is either rusty or not 100 percent healthy yet, whatever the reason, he doesn't look the same. Abdullah has been the better back and he needs more touches. The Lions currently have a pass-to-run ratio of 78 percent pass to 28 percent run. That’s not going to cut it.

That means players like Riley Reiff, Travis Swanson and Larry Warford need to step up and play better this week. LaAdrian Waddle needs to step in there and be ready to play at right tackle. Stafford is hurting and he’s about to face the No. 1 pass defense in the NFL. He needs help this week from the offensive line and the run game.

Defensively the Lions have to find a way to pressure Manning. He’s been sacked seven times over the first two weeks and has just a 74.2 passer rating. The Lions have to get him off his spot. Ziggy Ansah has carried his weight through the first two games. Now it’s time for Haloti Ngata, Jason Jones and others upfront to carry theirs.

NFC North Standings:

Green Bay (2-0) 1.00

Minnesota (1-1) .500

Detroit (0-2) .000

Chicago (0-2) .000

Lions Injury News:

No injuries to report yet. N/A N/A N/A N/A

Will be edited when injury reports are released

Broncos Injury News:

No injuries to report yet. N/A N/A N/A N/A

Will be edited when injury reports are released

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IMGur appears to be down at the moment, the post should appear normally when it comes back up. If not, I will rehost and edit tomorrow night.

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This game is a must win for the Lions. They need to win if they have any hope of making the playoffs.

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Losing would virtually bury us(though I'll clearly remain optimistic ;) )

I have no idea what to expect in this game though. No prediction either.

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It really feels like there are only two ways this one can go, either the Lions look like they did the first two weeks and Manning shreds them for 500 yards, it's a humiliating home loss, and the season is over....

Or they make Manning look old like he did in week 1, get a home win, and we can all get temporarily optimistic until the Seahawks bring us back to reality

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It amazes me that the Lions don't run a hurry up type of offense about 95% of the time. It seems as if Stafford would flourish in a hurry up offensive system.

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Underdogs again in the national spotlight for the home opener.

Is there honestly a team right now that the Lions wouldn't be considered Underdogs going against?

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It amazes me that the Lions don't run a hurry up type of offense about 95% of the time. It seems as if Stafford would flourish in a hurry up offensive system.

When they go to it they have their best drives...and not ALL OF IT is in garbage time or with 4 minutes left in the game. When they go to it...it works.

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Losing would virtually bury us(though I'll clearly remain optimistic ;) )

I have no idea what to expect in this game though. No prediction either.

I have a prediction for the Lions

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And I have a prediction for Lions fans while watching this game

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I hate being a life long Lions fan sometimes! Why can't we just put together a legit playoff run one time over the past 30+ years (my time watching the Lions). We've had 2 of the best skilled players to ever play the game (Barry Sanders , Calvin Johnson, and maybe you could add Suh to that list on defense), and have one playoff win to show for them.

I want them to win, and impress the nation on national television, but on the flip side, if we are only going to win 5-7 games this year, I'd rather just tank now and get a good draft pick. Unfortunately, my optimism this summer has changed to pessimism in just two weeks of the season.

Oh well, I'll watch and cheer and sign up for Sunday Ticket next year in hopes that I catch the right year for them to actually make a Super Bowl run. Hopefully it is before I become too old to care.

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It's only two games into the season and I have no enthusiasm about watching this game. I'm not investing time and emotional energy into another S.O.L. year.

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The year is not over. They have looked bad...can they get worse? I guess, but I think they get better before they get worse this year. I hold onto hope every season as a Lions fan though...even the 0-16 year I watched every game.

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Man, lions fans are a beaten down bunch.

Considering seattle on the road is next, they really really really need to win this game. That said, three straight home games following seattle should help them get back in it even if they do start 0-4.

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The year is not over. They have looked bad...can they get worse? ..

Always. OTOH - Do the O-Linemen get healthy? Does Levy make it back to full strength? It could get better.

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When they go to it they have their best drives...and not ALL OF IT is in garbage time or with 4 minutes left in the game. When they go to it...it works.

We mostly see their hurry up against a prevent D though. Even so, like you I also want to see it more – if nothing else just to see if it really does work

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It really feels like there are only two ways this one can go, either the Lions look like they did the first two weeks and Manning shreds them for 500 yards, it's a humiliating home loss, and the season is over....

Or they make Manning look old like he did in week 1, get a home win, and we can all get temporarily optimistic until the Seahawks bring us back to reality

I wonder if Caldwell can cash in on his familiarity with Manning and use it to his advantage

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Man, lions fans are a beaten down bunch.

Considering seattle on the road is next, they really really really need to win this game. That said, three straight home games following seattle should help them get back in it even if they do start 0-4.

It would be great if the Lions get it together by then, but winning 3 games in a row in the NFL and still not being .500 still makes it difficult to feel optimistic about your playoff chances. Has a team ever gone 0-4 and made the playoffs? IMO, just to have a playoff chance after starting 0-4, you have to go 9-3 the remainder of the season. Even then, 9 wins is a crap shoot on whether you are a playoff team. IMO, if they go 0-4, might as well keep going down and get a high draft pick.

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..... if we are only going to win 5-7 games this year, I'd rather just tank now and get a good draft pick. Unfortunately, my optimism this summer has changed to pessimism in just two weeks of the season......

Let's say the Lions win 5-7 games this season, does Mayhew get fired?

If Mayhew gets fired, does a new GM fire the coaching staff?

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Let's say the Lions win 5-7 games this season, does Mayhew get fired?

If Mayhew gets fired, does a new GM fire the coaching staff?

Unfortunately if the Lions tank this year, I think you have to make MAJOR changes to start a rebuild. IMO, that may mean shopping guys like Calvin Johnson and Matthew Stafford. I don't think you simply shop a "life long", sure fire HOF player, but if he gives you any indication that he would like to win a championship, I don't think you hold on to him with little to no chance of getting one unless you can't trade him (money reasons). I would think you make these moves in hopes of picking up enough key draft picks and/or talented youth to keep you from sitting in the cellar for 4-5 years. A 2 year cellar time, with a lot of up and coming talent, can keep a fan base energized. Another run like the Lions had in the 2000's would really be hard for fans to swallow IMO.

If a new GM comes, I would think a new coaching staff comes with him, but I don't know what the normal protocol is. I'm just not sure Ford is ready to move on again with GM's. For some reason, that family loves to ride a bad GM for far too long.

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Unfortunately if the Lions tank this year, I think you have to make MAJOR changes to start a rebuild. IMO, that may mean shopping guys like Calvin Johnson and Matthew Stafford. I don't think you simply shop a "life long", sure fire HOF player, but if he gives you any indication that he would like to win a championship, I don't think you hold on to him with little to no chance of getting one unless you can't trade him (money reasons). I would think you make these moves in hopes of picking up enough key draft picks and/or talented youth to keep you from sitting in the cellar for 4-5 years. A 2 year cellar time, with a lot of up and coming talent, can keep a fan base energized. Another run like the Lions had in the 2000's would really be hard for fans to swallow IMO.

If a new GM comes, I would think a new coaching staff comes with him, but I don't know what the normal protocol is. I'm just not sure Ford is ready to move on again with GM's. For some reason, that family loves to ride a bad GM for far too long.

I think you're right. 6-10 and you have to pull the plug on not only Mayhew, but you also have to plan for life after the Stafford/CJ duo.

I suspect Bill Ford is more of a results guy than his father, and would fire Mayhew at 6-10, but Mrs. Ford is a wild card. She is the owner, and she has been somewhat visible. Is she as patient as WCF was?

I could envision a scenario in which Mayhew was let go and Caldwell retained, but I doubt Caldwell would have final say in the coordinators.

In any case, I'm still of the belief that the offensive line is going to gel soon. If Stafford doesn't get killed before then, there are too many skill players for them not to put up points.

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