International Series Preview: Chiefs Take On Detroit Lions At Wembley Stadium Sunday
Wembley will have hosted 14 games after Sunday's game between the Chiefs and the Lions

International Series Preview: Chiefs Take On Detroit Lions At Wembley Stadium Sunday

Wembley hosts its final game of the season with the Detroit Lions and Kansas City Chiefs going head-to-head.

AndrewMcDonnell
Andrew McDonnell

Wembley Stadium will host its third and final game of the season this Sunday as the Kansas City Chiefs host the Detroit Lions, who have both been disappointing so far this season.

It really is hard to see why the Chiefs, who are 2-5, and the Lions, who are 1-6, are in the position they are, but nevertheless, one teams season will be all but over after this weekend.

Defence starting to perform, unlike offense

Kansas City’s defence has been much better in recent weeks, but there still has to be questions asked about their offense, as their leading rusher, is also their second highest receiver.

Kansas City's ‘D’ has held three straight opponents to under 340 yards, while forcing six turnovers, and with top players at each level, you would expect solid displays each week.

They had to grind out a win last week against the Pittsburgh Steelers with wide receiver Jeremy Maclin and running back Jamaal Charles sidelined.

Chiefs on top in head-to-head

If you go off statistics, the win is pretty much in the bag for the Chiefs, but everyone knows that the game doesn’t work like that, ask Alex Smith and Matthew Stafford.

Although, Kansas City’s quarterback does like playing against the Lions having won his last four games against said opposition, throwing for 717 passing yards.

The last time the two sides met was September 18, 2011 where Detroit swept aside Kansas City in a 48-3 rout at Ford Field.

If they are to stand any chance in the heavily contested AFC West, a win on Sunday is a must, to keep up with runaway leaders, the Denver Broncos (6-0) and the Oakland Raiders (3-3).

Not much happening on either side of the ball for Lions

On paper, the Lions look like they should be up there challenging for the playoffs, but their offense is struggling with the running game, averaging just 68 yards per game, last in the league.

Their defence isn’t much greater, as they are near the bottom for points allowed per game, passing and rushing yards allowed per game.

Calvin Johnson, the Lions’ star wide receiver, was found a mere five times last week against the Minnesota Vikings, for 86 yards and a score.

Can Stafford replicate his last Wembley display?

Last time out, Stafford came into the London fixture against the Atlanta Falcons with little doubters, and he proved his worth after coming back from being 21 down at the half to lead his side to a famous win.

The quarterback threw two touchdowns, while picking up 325 passing yards in their narrow 22-21 win over the Falcons last season.

However, Stafford has a point to prove this time around, his side lost five straight games before their 37-34 overtime win over the Chicago Bears two weeks back.

The Lions did what a lot of teams do in the situation that they are in, fire a coach, in this case it was Joe Lombardi, their offensive coordinator.

London Calling

Since the beginning of the whole international series back in 2007, the National Football League has grown massively with all but one game being sold out.

This season, Wembley hosted its very own divisional match with the New York Jets and the Miami Dolphins face off in front of an 80,000 strong crowd.

While another groundbreaking moment will take place this weekend, it is the first time two straight games has been played outside of the US after the Jacksonville Jaguars’ win over the Buffalo Bills last Sunday.

As ever, speculation is circling around the league as to whom will be contesting in the 2016 International Series, with Tottenham Hotspur's new ground hosting game from 2017.

Team News

One bit of good news for the 800 traveling Chiefs fans is that wide receiver Maclin practiced on Wednesday, after suffering a concussion in week six, and didn’t participate at all last weekend.

Mike DeVito (concussion), Ben Grubbs (neck) and Ramik Wilson (ankle) will not play any part on Sunday, whereas Tamba Hali (knee) and Smith (right thumb) fully participated in training.

Detroit’s injury list is shortening, but the big names are appearing though, Johnson sat out Wednesday, but had full participation in practice on Thursday.

DeAndre Levy (hip) is unlikely to feature, Joique Bell (ankle) and LaAdrian Waddle (knee) are questionable for the game, whereas tight end Brandon Pettigrew (elbow) participated fully in practice.

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