(Sports Network) – After breaking through with their first victory of the 2010 season — and in a most impressive fashion — the Detroit Lions now set their sights on obtaining their first road win in nearly three full years.
That may be a task easier said than done, however, when the long-suffering Lions head to New Meadowlands Stadium this Sunday to battle a resurgent New York Giants team that’s also riding high after delivering a second straight notice-serving triumph in its most recent outing.
Detroit finally put an end to a 10-game losing streak that included defeats in its first four tests of 2010 with last weekend’s home rout of the St. Louis Rams. The Lions didn’t leave any doubt about the outcome either, dominating their fellow longtime doormats in all phases in a 44-6 thrashing that offered ample evidence that they’re indeed a team headed in a positive direction.
All three units had a hand in Detroit’s most lopsided win since a 44-0 decision over Jacksonville on Dec. 17, 1995. Quarterback Shaun Hill tossed three touchdown passes while subbing once again for the injured Matthew Stafford, return specialist Stefan Logan took a kickoff back 105 yards for a score in the second quarter, and cornerback Alphonso Smith put on the final exclamation point with a 42-yard interception return touchdown with just over seven minutes to go.
The Lions are now averaging 25.2 points per game for the season, the highest mark in the NFC.
While Detroit has been putting up points in bunches as of late, the Giants have been awfully stingy in giving them up during their current two-game tear. After racking up 10 sacks and yielding a minuscule 110 total yards in a 17-3 dismantling of previously-unbeaten Chicago in Week 4, New York shut down one of the league’s most diverse offenses in last Sunday’s 34-10 road verdict over Houston.
The Giants limited the high-powered Texans to 195 total yards and 11 first downs while stifling the NFL’s top-ranked running game, with Houston mustering a meager 24 yards on 15 attempts.
New York’s new-look defense has allowed a league-low 244.6 yards per game and produced 19 sacks over the course of its 3-2 start, good for a tie with Philadelphia and the improved Washington Redskins for first place in a wide- open NFC East pack.
Sustaining that success will now be the primary focus for Tom Coughlin’s squad. The Giants were 5-0 at this stage of the season a year ago, but lost eight of their final 11 contests and endured a prolonged defensive meltdown to finish out of the playoff hunt.
Detroit, meanwhile, will be aiming to halt a dubious 23-game losing streak on the road and avoid matching the franchise’s own NFL record for consecutive away setbacks set between 2001-03. The Lions haven’t prevailed as the visitor since a 16-7 besting of Chicago on Oct. 28, 2007.
Hill is expected to lead the offense for a fifth straight week with 2009 No. 1 overall draft pick Stafford still recovering from a shoulder sprain sustained in the team’s season-opening loss to the Bears, and it’s possible the Lions could be without star wide receiver Calvin Johnson as well for Sunday’s tilt. The talented fourth-year pro hurt his shoulder in the second half of last week’s win and will likely be a game-time decision.