NFL Picks: Lions vs. Vikings to go Over

Steven Suarez

Monday, December 23, 2013 6:13 PM UTC

Monday, Dec. 23, 2013 6:13 PM UTC

Both teams are out of the playoff picture, but one has to win this Sunday. Will it be Minnesota or Detroit?

Odds Overview

What a collapse we've seen out of the Lions over the second half of the season. With Detroit struggling mightily, we can't complain that they're three-point underdogs at the top sportsbooks. The Lions are 7-8 SU and 6-9 ATS, with the Vikings at 4-10-1 SU and 8-8 ATS.

A lot of points are expected, which is why the O/U is at 52 for Week 17.

Detroit Lions

At 6-3 after Week 10, the Lions looked destined to reach the postseason. However, since that loss in Chicago, they're gone 1-5 SU with three home losses to Tampa Bay, Baltimore and the New York Giants and road losses at Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.

Home fans had to be fuming with their team's effort against the Giants, considering Detroit was a 9.5-point underdog in the NFL odds.

Matthew Stafford was 25-of-42 for 222 yards and failed to throw a touchdown pass. He was picked off twice. Reggie Bush had a key fumble and was usurped by Joique Bell, who had 20 rushes for 91 yards and a TD and 10 catches for 63 yards. Calvin Johnson was held in check, catching only three passes for 43 yards.

For a team with as much talent on both sides of the ball as the Lions, there's no other word to use but disappointing. There's no excuse for them losing at home to the Giants.

We'll have to see if they can step it up on the road, where they're 3-4 SU and ATS. Their victories have come over Washington (27-20), Cleveland (31-17) and Chicago (21-19), while they've lost to Arizona (21-25), Green Bay (9-22), Pittsburgh (27-37) and Philadelphia (20-34).

Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings tried to carry over momentum after a 48-30 win over Philadelphia last weekend, but they were dominated from the get-go en route to a 42-14 loss to Cincinnati.

It was a disaster show all over the field for Minnesota. They couldn't stop Andy Dalton at all (he finished with 366 passing yards and four touchdowns) and clearly had trouble getting anything going behind Matt Cassel when they had the ball.

Cassel was 13-of-27 for just 114 yards and had four total turnovers (three interceptions, one lost fumble). His one touchdown was caught by Jarius Wright.

Adrian Peterson returned but had only 11 carries for 45 yards. With Minnesota in a huge hole early, the running game lost traction.

The way the Vikings' season has been going, they should be a lot better in Week 17. After all, they've alternated losses, wins (and even a tie in there) over their previous eight games. Will that trend keep going in the final week

NFL Pick

Oh boy. There's no way we can take either Detroit or Minnesota in this spot. The Lions have been horrible lately, but they're still the more talented team and could have their bounce-back moment here.

So let's go with the OVER instead for our free NFL picks. The Vikings have been scoring a lot of points at home lately – they've averaged 34 points per game over their last four, which includes three wins over the Eagles, Bears and Redskins.

We already know how prolific the Lions can be offensively, regardless of their struggles over the past few weeks. We think we'll be in for a shootout here in the season finale for both teams, so the OVER, which has hit in six of Minnesota's seven home games this season, looks like the best way to go.

NFL Pick: OVER 52

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