After suffering a disappointing loss on Monday Night Football to the Seahawks, the Minnesota Vikings will host the Detroit Lions on Sunday for an NFC North duel. Minnesota looks to stay close to the 9-3 Packers and not let the 6-6 Bears gain any ground on it, as it sits at 8-4, and in second place in the NFC North.
The Lions are at the bottom of the division and lost franchise quarterback Matt Stafford five weeks ago to a season-ending back injury. Then they lost backup Jeff Driskell, who is on injured reserve. Last week on Thanksgiving, David Blough, an undrafted rookie out of Purdue, made his first start with the Lions. Blough didn’t get the win but looked good enough to make for some interesting matchups down the stretch.
The Vikings are favored by -12.5 with an over/under of 43 in the divisional matchup. Read on for a betting preview of this important game.
After a 6-10 season last year, 3-8-1 is not how second-year head coach Matt Patricia envisioned this season going. Patricia had little experience in losing in New England but is gaining some in Detroit, just as several of his predecessors have had to in recent history. Offensively, the Lions have been in the top half of the league most of the season, but the other side of the ball has been the problem. Not what you’d expect from a defensive specialist like Patricia.
The Lions defense ranks 29th in the NFL in total yards allowed, as well as 30th in first downs allowed, passing yards allowed, and interceptions. For an offense that ranks seventh in the league in total yards, the defense has surely failed them. It’ll be tough for them to handle the likes of Dalvin Cook and the Vikings passing game.
A Fumble and a Loss
After a Cook fumble late against the Seahawks Monday night with the game tied, everything seemed to come unhinged for the Vikings. What could’ve been a huge win on their resume turned into a heartbreaking loss. The Vikings offense ranks eighth in the NFL in yards per game, while their defense is bend, but don’t break, coming in at 16th in opponent yards per game.
The Vikings have done well at controlling the clock and game flow all season as well, utilizing their supreme running game and the flexible defense. Cook has 1,536 yards from scrimmage on the season, with 1,046 of those on the ground, with 12 total touchdowns. The Vikings rank sixth in the league, averaging 137 rushing yards per game. Cook himself ranks fifth amongst running backs in yards per game.
A Tempting Underdog
Taking the dog in the Lions is tempting, given the wide point spread and the new quarterback that looks like he can keep up. The question is, can the Lions defense even keep them within striking distance? Minnesota is .500 against the spread this season. Detroit is just below it at 5-7 against the spread. The Vikings are 3-2 as the home favorite against the spread, while the Lions are 2-2 as road dogs.
Dig into the 12.5 and decide for yourself if the Lions can keep it close. For more info, check out our matchup page. To check out other action from around the league, check out our NFL public consensus page.