A win Sunday in Detroit would give the Colts' Andrew Luck a record eight wins for a number one NFL draft pick quarterback in his rookie season. 2009 number one pick Matthew Stafford only won two games in his rookie season as quarterback of the Lions. But this season, Stafford leads a prolific pass offense for the well-rested and angry Lions.
The Lions (4-7) have not played since Thanksgiving, an overtime loss that left a bad taste of turkey in their mouths. The Houston Texans comeback was aided by an 81-yard touchdown that should have been blown dead after a short gain. The play would have been overturned by video review, except Lions coach Jim Schwartz threw his challenge flag. That's unsportsmanlike conduct, because all scoring plays are reviewed in the NFL. The penalty flag eliminates video review.
In that same game, Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh kicked Texans quarterback Matt Schaub in the groin. The NFL fined Suh 30 thousand dollars, but did not suspend him.
"It's a crazy play," said Suh. "It's one that unfortunately happened. I didn't even realize it until the end of the game, when I see my Twitter feed. I see my friends telling me about it. Other than that, I can't do much more about it. I was being dragged to the ground and my foot inadvertently hit the man."
Colts quarterback Andrew Luck has taken his share of hits this season that resulted in fines for opponents. Luck hopes to avoid Suh on Sunday.
"He's a great player," said Luck. "Obviously, you're going to be aware of where he is because he can do special things. Our guys are up for the challenge. We are excited for it and hopefully it'll be a good game."
Lions Quarterback Matthew Stafford leads the number one pass offense in the NFL, averaging 312.5 yards a game. Wide Receiver Calvin Johnson leads the league in receiving yards, with 73 catches for 1,257 yards.
"They are as good as it gets in this league," said Colts interim coach Bruce Arians. "As far as a one-two punch, a guy throwing to a guy catching, Matthew can make every throw in the book and this guy can obviously take a short one and go, or you could have him covered and he's still going to jump up and catch it. So don't get your heart broken if two guys are on him and he still catches the ball. Just play the next down."
"You just have to look at his production," said Colts cornerback Darius Butler, who will have to cover Johnson. "Obviously, a lot of the offense is based around him and they are going to get him the ball. They've got a good quarterback and players around him. You have to limit his production to make somebody else beat you."
The Colts (7-4) have played just once at Ford Field, a 41-9 Thanksgiving Day feast victory over the Lions in 2004.