We have an NFC North clash as the Lions and Vikings meet in Minnesota knowing they need to win to keep their slim hopes of an NFC playoff spot alive, who wins this?
Detroit Lions vs. Minnesota Vikings
Sunday, November 8, 2020 – 1:00 ET at US Bank Stadium
Battle of the bottom two teams in the NFC North, and feasibly both of them still have a slight chance of making the playoff picture with the 3-4 Detroit Lions taking on the 2-5 Minnesota Vikings.
How Do the Lions Win This One?
The Lions are an annoying team, sitting at 4-3 against the NFL Spread. They were a lot of people's dark horses over the summer with Matthew Stafford back after missing a lot of last season with an injury. Stafford is actually on the Covid/IR list for the second time this season, but it’s due to contact tracing rather than him providing a positive test. So, I don’t doubt he’ll be playing.
He’s not a million miles off a 5,000-yard pace this year either, sitting on 1,900 after 7 games. Stafford also has 13 TDs and 5 INTs so far this year. He had 3 TDs for 336 yards in his last game, a disappointing loss to the Colts where he threw a costly interception.
Kenny Golladay is frustratingly out for another few games having missed a couple earlier this year. He’s the best WR they’ve got, and while they’ve still been putting up yards on offense, it’s a downgrade for them. Marvin Jones scored a couple of times last week but didn’t get much yardage. Jones, Marvin Hall, and rookie Quintez Cephus will need to pick up the slack. While second-year tight end, TJ Hockenson, scored 3 games in a row before last week.
They will need the run game to be better, and I think they need to get D’Andre Swift going. He’s the more exciting versatile back for them and is useful in the passing game as well. The Lions have scored first in every game they’ve played this year, they’ve been 14 points up in many of them and thrown away leads. They need to control the ball and defend it better to get a win here.
Will the Vikings Pass the Ball at All?
The Vikes ran all over the Packers last week with Dalvin Cook becoming the first player to score a TD on each of his teams’ first 4 drives. He finished with 30 carries for 163 yards and 3 TDs on the ground, as well as helping pad Kirk Cousins stats with 2 for 63 and a TD through the air. One of the best individual performances of the year and showing no signs of the injury, which kept him out before the bye week.
It was a Mike Zimmer fever dream, and you’ve got to think they’ll try the exact same plan for this game. The Lions are ranked 21st against the run, so it should be a decent matchup for them. If they are forced to pass then they’ve got a few decent targets. Adam Thielen has 7 TDs this year, and last week was only the second game he’s failed to score. Justin Jefferson has looked great since being moved outside. These two have helped them go over the NFL odds totals in 5 of their 7 games.
Cousins isn’t a top 10 QB, but he works well in this offense. When he’s not under pressure he’ll make the passes he’s asked to do. The Lions don’t generate a lot of pressure, so he should be fine in this game if required.
Who’s going to win?
Divisional games are usually pretty close with the teams knowing each other so well. However, the Vikings have dominated this series over the last few years, winning and covering the NFL spread at the top sportsbooks in each of the last 5 games between the two.
I’m fairly sure both teams will have the lead at some point in the game, probably the Lions first before they do their usual and throw away a comfortable lead.