This game comes at the best possible time for the Lions. They are fresh off a home win, the offense played well, and they are at home against a team that is poor on the road. The only downside is that they are playing against a Minnesota Vikings team that beat them earlier in the season and Adrian Peterson is still healthy. Can Detroit beat the Vikings and gain ground in the NFC standings?
- Detroit Lions Offensive Line vs. Minnesota Vikings Defensive Line – Last time these two matched up, Detroit could not run and Matthew Stafford got beat up. This time, they come in with a healthy Larry Warford on the offensive line and a unit coming off a strong performance. In addition to that, Vikings defensive tackle Sharriff Floyd is out, meaning Laken Tomlinson‘s match up is easier than expected. Still though, its hard to give this offensive line any edge until I can see the consistency Edge Vikings
- Detroit Lions Tight Ends vs. Minnesota Vikings Linebackers – Brandon Pettigrew is still out. Tim Wright played alright last week and could get some time this week. With Eric Ebron probable, I would expect him to get the start and hopefully make a difference in this game. Minnesota’s linebackers are still very good though so the edge still has to go to Minnesota. Edge Vikings
- Detroit Lions Wide Receivers vs. Minnesota Vikings Secondary – This could go either way. Last time these teams met, the Vikings defense was dominant. The Lions could not get Calvin Johnson or Golden Tate going. This time, they have Calvin coming off his best game of the season, a 166 yard effort. On top of that, Lance Moore contributed 100 yards, meaning the Vikings cannot load up to stop Johnson, and accounting for Moore could leave Tate open. Edge Lions
- Detroit Lions Running Backs vs. Minnesota Vikings Run Defense – Ameer Abdullah has had ball control issues lately and that does not bode well for a game that could be very close. Joique Bell is close to returning and could provide a spark, although his 1.1 yards per carry average this season is not all that impressive. The Vikings run defense is not great, and without Floyd it takes a hit. The X factor here could be Theo Riddick. If Riddick gets some carries, the Vikings are going to be in a pickle. Riddick was a primary pass catcher only back going into last week. Injuries forced the Lions to run him and he rewarded them with a 4.0 yards per carry average. If Riddick runs the ball, the Vikings have to account for him in the run and pass game and that bodes well for Detroit. Edge Vikings
- Detroit Lions Quarterbacks vs. Minnesota Vikings Pass Defense – Last time these teams met, Golden Tate complained of Xavier Rhodes’ hands on style. While the team continued to harp on that this week, the emergence of Lance Moore, the addition of Ebron, and the resurgence of Johnson thins their great secondary. I cannot see a scenario where this is not the match up that decides the game if Detroit has the ball at the end of the game. Edge Lions
- Detroit Lions Defensive Line vs. Minnesota Vikings Offensive Line – The Detroit defensive line played great against the Seattle Seahawks but have not played particularly well since. Haloti Ngata has also been out for that time so that could have an impact on the defensive line’s impact. With Ngata back, expect the team to play more fundamentally sound and hopefully get some pressure on the quarterback. Minnesota’s offensive line is not one to be feared. Edge Lions
- Detroit Lions Linebackers vs. Minnesota Vikings Tight Ends – Kyle Rudolph is a very good tight end and he is facing a linebacking group that desperately misses DeAndre Levy. With Levy still out, expect Rudolph to run free against the Lions. Edge Vikings
- Detroit Lions Secondary vs. Minnesota Vikings Wide Receivers – Last time this match up did not matter. While Bridgewater did not do well statistically, he did not need to. I expect more of the same. While the Detroit secondary is poor, Bridgewater is not exactly an elite quarterback and will falter if the Lions get pressure. Edge None
- Detroit Lions Run Defense vs. Minnesota Vikings Running Backs – The Vikings have Adrian Peterson. The Lions struggle every time they face Peterson. If the Lions can keep the edge, they can keep him contained. The problem is, they have not shown that they can do that. Peterson is an elite running back. The Lions are an average at best run defense. Edge Vikings
- Detroit Lions Pass Defense vs. Minnesota Vikings Quarterbacks – I could not give the Vikings the edge against the Lions secondary due to Bridgewater’s inexperience so I cannot give them the edge here, regardless of how poorly the Lions pass defense has played. Edge None
- Detroit Lions Special Teams vs. Minnesota Vikings Special Teams – Both teams have a good place kicker. Both teams are solid at kick and punt return. The difference has been Detroit turnovers. If they can contain their turnovers, they have a shot. Edge None
Lions 3 Vikings 5
I was fully expecting to pick the Lions here but looking at the numbers, I am better off not picking them. This game could come down to who plays better overall and with the Vikings being a very poor road team, the Lions could have a shot. Still though, it is hard to argue with the numbers, even if they do seem a bit off.
Detroit 23 Minnesota 27