TE Eric Ebron vs. LB Anthony Barr
Ebron is still barely healthy and looks insecure in his routes and ability to take a hard hit. He will be tested all day by Barr, a former first-round pick himself, who uses his hands extremely well in the open field. He is (hypothetically) the type of linebacker Detroit sorely needs. Ebron will need to use his athleticism to create separation and the coaching staff will need to understand that Ebron can also be used simply as a decoy to open up bigger plays for either Golden Tate or Anquan Boldin – who both also like to operate on those inside routes against linebackers.
VIKINGS: KEY MATCHUP:
DE Ziggy Ansah vs. TE Kyle Rudolph
With the Lions struggling so much in coverage, a wise strategy in this game would be to let Ziggy Ansah play as more of a “Sam” – Strong side linebacker in a “3-4” all day and prevent any type of tight end fiascos which have plagued the Lions all year with the absence of DeAndre Levy. Ansah is consistently drawing double-teams off the edge, and Detroit is still generating a pass rush despite this. As such, dropping Ansah back into coverage and blanketing Rudolph will essentially eliminate three players from Minnesota’s offense. It will be up to the rest of the 10 players on defense to not let Matt Asiata, Jerick McKinnon, or Sam Bradford beat them.
David Klein – Lions Insider