The #1 goal for Detroit coming into the Lions at Vikings pick is stopping the Minnesota ground game. Mike Zimmer’s team used 163 yards rushing and 3 TD last week to hand Green Bay a 28-22 loss at Lambeau Field. The Lions have the #23 rush defense in the NFL, giving up 130 ypg.
Oddsmakers are banking on 2-5 Minnesota to start putting a little run together as -4 point favorites on Sunday, up from a -2.5 open. 55% of the betting public likes Minnesota, especially as Detroit was bowled over 41-21 at home against the Colts last week as +3.5 underdogs. The Vikings have won four straight in this series, including 20-7 last year at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Stafford Good to Go For Detroit
One bright spot for Detroit is that QB Matthew Stafford has cleared the COVID list and will be available for the Lions at Vikings pick. Stafford did miss a couple practices this week due to contact tracing, but he’s starting Sunday to lead the league’s #16 passing offense.
Having Stafford under center is a good thing, because the Lions have the 3rd worst rushing attack in the league, tallying just 97.1 yards/game. Detroit had actually won 3 of 4 games prior to the loss to the Colts, posting victories over Arizona (26-23), Jacksonville (34-16), and Atlanta (23-22), with a 35-29 loss to the Saints mixed in there.
All that momentum from those Detroit wins was washed away last week however. Philip Rivers threw three TDs in the 2nd quarter and the Colts added three more scores in the 4th to get the 41-21 win. The Colts had 119 yards on the ground, although it was on 39 carries. That stat will be key Sunday against Minnesota.
Vikings Game Plan No Secret
Dalvin Cook was great vs. the Packers, scoring not just the 3 TD on the ground, but adding a TD on a 50-yard pass as well. With Cook in the backfield, Kirk Cousins was able to efficiently go 11/14 for 160 yards and a TD. In the 40-23 loss to the Falcons a week earlier, Cousins threw 3 INTs, mostly due to Cook missing the game with a groin injury.
Aside from the big day from Cook, the Vikings defense did just enough vs. Aaron Rodgers and the potent Green Bay offense. Rodgers was 27/41 for 291 yards and 3 TD, so there is some concern to be had for the Minnesota secondary. Matt Ryan was 30/40 for 371 and 4 TD in the Vikings loss to the Falcons a week earlier.
What Minnesota does have going is a 4-game win streak in this series, holding Detroit to under 10 points in each of the last two in Minneapolis. That was with fans in attendance too though, so Detroit does gain an advantage in that regard. Cousins was 24/30 in the 20-7 Vikings win at U.S. Bank Stadium, but it should be noted the Lions were starting David Blough in that game.
Free Lions at Vikings Pick
Minnesota has momentum, but they are also 0-3 at home on the season. The Vikings are in a prime spot for a letdown after the big win over Green Bay, and a Detroit win is very much possible with the Minnesota secondary being so bad.
Lions 27 – Vikings 24
Free Pick: Detroit Lions +4