NFL odds expect the Vikings to beat the Lions by 2 touchdowns this Sunday. Which team should you make your NFL pick?
Detroit Lions (3-8-1) vs. Minnesota Vikings (8-4)
Sunday, December 8th, 1:00 p.m. EST (FOX) – US Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, MN
Oh So Close
The Detroit Lions have been in a position to win almost every football game they played this year yet they continue late come up short. They have a 4 point loss to the Chicago Bears. A 3 point loss at Washington. A 1 point loss at Green Bay with some of the most egregious officiating mistakes we have ever seen. The Detroit Lions are 3-8-1 and eliminated from playoff contention. Yet they’ve been competitive in every game this season, with several close losses, and just one loss by more than a touchdown: a 42-30 loss to the Minnesota Vikings in October.
The latest edition of “Lions find a way to lose” the Lions allowed the visiting Chicago Bears Mitchell Trubisky to look like an NFL quarterback and lead Chicago to a victory on Thanksgiving Day. Detroit had the lead but was not able to hold on to it as defensive lapses in the 4th quarter have become the hallmark of the Lions season. The Lions have succumbed to the weight of the continued losing. At first, they were fighting for their coach until Matt Patricia tried to pull a “Belichick Move” and traded popular safety Quandre Diggs to the Seahawks for a late-round draft pick due to personality clashes between the coach and player. Diggs was quite popular and this seems to have been the final straw. The plucky team that was fighting hard despite the results lost faith in their coach and the direction of the franchise after that game. NFL oddsmakers agree, as 14 points in a divisional contest is extreme, but extreme is one of the few words that accurately describe the Lion’s descent of the season.
Back on Track
Despite a close loss to the Seahawks on Monday night, the Vikings have got their season back on track. After a slow start where turmoil swirled around inside the team. Stefon Diggs wouldn’t answer questions about trade rumors involving him, saying “There’s truth to all rumors.” The Vikings have come a long way. Diggs and QB Kirk Cousins have found a rapport.
Running back Dalvin Cook is making a case that he is one of the top running backs in the league. Cook suffered an injury and his status for Sunday’s game is questionable. The Vikings are again being led by their stout defense. Xavier Rhodes and Harrison Smith are ball-hawking players always looking for turnovers in the secondary. The Vikings boast a strong front 7 that is tough to run the ball on. Their linebackers can adequately switch in between rushing the passer and pass coverage making their schemes easier to disguise and tougher to read.
The Vikings are coming off a close loss to the Seattle Seahawks when they had opportunities they just couldn’t convert. I believe we will see a focused team eager to erase the taste of defeat from their mouth and get back on track towards earning themselves a home game in the playoffs. WR Adam Thielen’s status is questionable. Thielen is Cousin’s favorite target and provides Diggs more space by commanding the attention of safeties. Thielen’s status will be an important factor when making this NFL pick.
The Lions and Vikings are 2 teams with opposite trajectories. The Vikings are knocking on the door of playoff contention while the Lions will be evaluating the job status of Matt Patricia and his staff this offseason. Originally I leaned towards taking the Lions and the points here but with the injury situation being in flux I think the safer bet is a look to the over. Detroit lacks talent on the defensive end and the Vikings should be eager to exploit that coming off a tough loss. Dalvin Cook should return but Thielen’s status is in question. Regardless the Vikings should put up points, the main concern will be the Lions scoring on the stout Minnesota defense. I think the Lions can manage at least 17, even with their backup QB, in which case the over gets home. MY NFL pick is Detroit Lions/Minnesota Vikings over 43.