Madden curse watch week 4: Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions

Historically, players who are featured on the cover of the “Madden NFL” franchise experience significant drops in their offensive production. is tracking the performance of Calvin Johnson and the Detroit Lions over the course of the 2012 season because we believe Johnson will debunk the Madden curse.

(Carlos Osorio/Associated Press)

Megatron’s ready for the Minnesota Vikings. Are you? Entering week 4, Johnson had 24 receptions, ranking third in the NFL behind Percy Harvin (27) and Danny Amendola (25). Not bad for our cover star. Step aside, “Madden,” it’s business as usual for Megatron.

(Nick Ut/Associated Press)

Oh, and if you don’t know by now, the referees are back. Say hello to Clete Blakeman, our referee for today.

(Carlos Osorio/Associated Press)

Now on to the game!

For the second week in the row, special teams ruled the Detroit Lions

On opening kickoff, Percy Harvin takes it all the way home for a 105-yard touchdown.

And in the third quarter, Marcus Sherels returns a punt 77 yards for a touchdown.

The Lions had plenty of opportunities to charge down the field, but Megatron and Brandon Pettigrew had a tough time holding on to the ball.

With the Lions down 13-3 and less than 2 minutes remaining in the second quarter, Johnson drops a potential touchdown pass, and the Lions settle for a field goal.

The game did not get any easier for Megatron.

(Rick Osentoski/Associated Press)

Every missed opportunity brought more frustrations.

(Carlos Osorio/Associated Press)

But in the fourth quarter, the offense starts to pick up. Matt Stafford passes to Joique Bell for 23 yards and a spot at the 6-yard line.

(Rick Osentoski/Associated Press)

Then connects to Nate Burleson at the 1-yard line.

(Rick Osentoski/Associated Press)

Then calls his number for the rushing touchdown. Too little, too late.

In the final minutes of the fourth quarter, the Lions can’t take this game away from the Vikings. The Lions lose 20-13.

Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier gets his first career win against an NFC North foe, and our hero Johnson finishes the game with five catches for 54 yards.

(Carlos Osorio/Associated Press)

The Lions are on a bye next week and will meet the Philadelphia Eagles on the road in Week 6. See you soon, Megatron.

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