It's pretty interesting how the Lions early-season schedule has played out in terms of the continued revenge tour for veteran running back Adrian Peterson.
The Lions have played Minnesota, where Peterson spent the bulk of his career, but they've also squared off against New Orleans and Arizona, two other stops for Peterson in his illustrious career. The Lions will complete the Peterson tour Sunday when Washington comes to town.
Peterson spent the 2018 and 2019 seasons in Washington, where he rushed for 1,042 yards and seven touchdowns in 2018 and followed that up with 898 yards and five scores last season. But this offseason, Washington decided to move on from the veteran to feature some younger talent. Peterson said this week that decision was a "gut shot" to him at the time.
Peterson was released a week before the season started. He said his family was getting ready to come up to Washington to be with him throughout the season. Those plans changed, however, and instead, they found their way to Detroit after he signed a one-year deal with the Lions right before the start of the season.
"I would be lying to you if I told you that chip on my shoulder wasn't there," Peterson told Washington, D.C., TV station WUSA9 earlier this week.
"They will get to realize what they let go."
Peterson leads the Lions in rushing this season with 350 yards (3.8 average) and two touchdowns, splitting carries with rookie D’Andre Swift and third-year back Kerryon Johnson. Washington is led in rushing by rookie Antonio Gibson with 391 yards (4.3) and five touchdowns.
"I feel like I came to a great situation here in Detroit," Peterson said Thursday.
The Lions face the league's top passing defense Sunday in Washington, so they'll need some consistency and production in their run game. Peterson is clearly motivated to provide that against a Washington team he felt slighted by when they released him in September.
GOLLADAY RULED OUT
Kenny Golladay is Detroit's best weapon on offense, but the Pro Bowl wide receiver is dealing with his second injury so far this season. He missed Detroit's first two contests with a hamstring injury and he's missed most of the last two games with a hip injury.
Golladay missed practice all week and has been ruled out for Sunday's game. Lions head coach Matt Patricia said there is a fine line between managing Golladay more carefully with him dealing with a second injury vs. getting him back on the field as soon as possible.
"Sometimes the player's going to want to push and get out there even quicker because they're competitive and certainly, Kenny is in that boat," Patricia said. "He always wants to be on the field and wants to practice. He wants to play. So we just have to try to be smart with it."
The Lions certainly don't want to be in a spot where Golladay can risk further injury and put future games in jeopardy with him not being 100 percent. Detroit didn't place their star receiver on IR, which means they didn't initially expect him to miss three full games, which would imply we could potentially see him back next week vs. Carolina.
View photos from Detroit Lions practice on Friday Nov. 13, 2020.
Teams that have started the season 4-5 have made the playoffs 16.7 percent of the time (28 of 168) since 1990, per NFL Media Research. Teams that start 3-6 see that percentage fall all the way to 2.9 percent (4 of 140).
This is obviously a big game for the Lions to get back in the NFC playoff hunt.
Aqib Talib will make his broadcasting debut this weekend as the color commentator on FOX for Detroit's Week 10 matchup with the Washington Football Team.
Talib spent part of the 2012 season and all of the 2013 season with the New England Patriots when Patricia was the team's defensive coordinator. He was a Pro Bowler for the Patriots in 2013.
"I'm excited. I'm excited for it. I can't wait to get caught up with him when we do our production meeting here," Patricia said this week. "Talib – he's by far one of the most favorite guys that I've coached. Competitive, tough, great personality, all of it, super smart, I mean this guy is – he's on top of it.
"Talib walked in the door and everything changed. It was great. We were able to do a lot more things. He'd walk into my office every Tuesday and be like, 'Hey, I'm taking this guy, and you figure out the rest of it.' And I'd be like, 'Perfect.' You know? It was always their best guy, like he always wanted to cover their best guy – he was that competitive. You love to be around a guy like that."
The last time the Lions made the playoffs was in 2016 (finished 9-7).
Through the first eight games of the 2016 season, quarterback Matthew Stafford had a 4-4 record and was averaging 269.3 passing yards per game with 16 touchdowns and four interceptions.
Through the first eight games this season, Stafford has a 3-5 record and is averaging 265.9 passing yards per game with 14 touchdowns and seven interceptions.