After two straight home losses, hitting the road might not be such a bad idea for the Detroit Lions, who are sitting pretty at 3-0 away from home this season. They'll get plenty of travel in this week by heading to take on the Denver Broncos. The 2-4 Broncos, minus a steady running game and a potent offense, might be just what the doctor ordered for the suddenly stumbling Lions. Yes, the opposition will possess Tim Tebow, but won't it be interesting to see how Tebow does against an imposing defensive line? The air will be thin and the kickoff will be late, but an important matchup looms nonetheless.
Here are five other things we're watching this week in the Mile-High City:
Tim Tebow. Yes, it was going to be on the list anyway, so we may as well get this one out of the way early. Many national pundits are picking the Broncos, who are deficient in several other important areas, to beat the Lions simply because of the Tebow factor. The last time a young NFL player was this over-hyped? Hard to remember. Still, all Tebow has done is win. His running (and occasional throwing) will pose a bit of a challenge for the Lions defense. Can he pull off his second straight miracle, this time against a good team? The already over-inflated Tebow legend will only grow if he can, and that is a scary thought.
Matthew Stafford's Ankle. The Lions' offense will depend on a healthy (and accurate) Matthew Stafford on Sunday. It is still a 50/50 proposition if Stafford is a go for tomorrow. Will he play, and how will he look? If he cannot go, it will be up to Shaun Hill to carry the reins again in his absence.
Lions' Run Defense. With Willis McGahee slated to be out, the Lions' chances of stopping Denver's running game get lot better. Still, the Broncos will run Knowshon Moreno while featuring Tebow on run option plays. It might not be enough to pose Frank Gore or Michael Turner type problems, but it is enough to give the Lions some fits if they're not careful. They will have to bear down and fill gaps, daring Tebow to pass while completely smothering any running game.
Lions' Red Zone Execution. The past two weeks, the Lions have failed miserably at penetrating the other team's end zone when driving. For road win number four to come to fruition, they will need to execute better offense when they have the Broncos on the ropes. Two touchdowns would have been the difference against the 49ers and Falcons, so it will be important to see if the Lions can start to cash in on their chances with seven points instead of three.
Lions' Special Teams: Have Some Problems Been Fixed? After two terrible weeks in a row, the Lions will need a better effort with regards to punting and kickoff coverage. Most of the pressure to improve will be on Stefan Logan and Ryan Donahue, who have had a few rough weeks. Luckily, this game takes place in Denver, so getting lift on punts and kicks should not be a problem. It will be up to the coverage units to make plays and prevent field position from becoming a nightmare for a third week in a row. They'll want to make Tebow beat them on long drives instead of giving him a short field.
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