The Detroit Lions (1-1) travel to Minneapolis to take on the Minnesota Vikings (1-1) on Sunday at 1:00 pm (EST). The Vikings are a -5.5-point favorite and are given a 66% chance to win according to ESPN’s FPI. The Lions are coming off a 36-27 win over the Washington Commanders. On the flip side the Vikings suffered a loss on Monday Night Football 24-7 on the road to the Eagles. This is a big game for both teams. A win for the Vikings can put them in the driver’s seat in the division as they already have a win over the Packers. It’ll also be a big win to get back on track after last week’s frustrating loss in Philly. For the Lions, it will put them at 1-0 in divisional play. With that let’s take a look at what to expect from each team.
The Vikings have played two teams and have looked completely different each time. In week one they dominated the Packers in a 23-7 win. Then the following week on Monday night they struggled greatly against the Eagles in a 24-7 loss. So, what Vikings team will we see? I really don’t know. Minnesota shot themselves in the foot multiple times on Monday, making the loss look worse than it really was.
The Vikings will need to get the offense going if they want to compete with the Lions. This season the Vikings are averaging 15 points per game with 343 yards of total offense (249 passing and 94 rushing). On the defensive side they are allowing 15.5 points per game with 433.5 yards of total offense per game (296.5 passing and 137.0 rushing). Minnesota will need to step it up on both sides of the ball as Detroit is no team to sleep on. The Vikings will need a week 1 like performance in order to secure a win. Whether or not that team will show up is yet to be seen.
What To Watch
Turnovers. Minnesota’s ability to get and not give takeaways Sunday is the biggest factor I see for them. Seriously, if they didn’t have three interceptions on Monday the game is likely 24-16 at least. They also had two takeaways in each of their first two games. This is the key for Minnesota, if they don’t turn the ball over, they should be able to stay in this game and have a chance to win it late. If not, then a repeat of last week is likely. On the other hand, if they can generate turnovers and capitalize on the opportunities then they should be able to win this game. If they do what they did last week and turn the ball over after getting a turnover, then they’ll be in trouble.
The biggest question I have for the Vikings is what team we will see Sunday afternoon. Minnesota had chances on Monday but failed to do anything to actually get themselves back into the game. Sunday they will need to do better if they want to have a chance at beating a good Lions team. Last week against the Eagles their pre snap motion did not seem to be present. This is something I will look to see if it comes back. I don’t know if they didn’t do it on the road or not, but they’re back at home so I’m expecting to see it return on Sunday.
With that, hopefully the offense can find its footing and help a defense that is down safety Harrison Smith and Andrew Booth. The secondary will need to step up in their unavailability as Amon-Ra St. Brown and co. will look to take advantage of this opportunity. The Vikings will need a lot of help to not drop to 1-2 early in the season.
The Vikings have three players listed on their injury list.
- Erick Kendricks (LB) – Toe
- Harrison Smith (S) – Concussion
- Andrew Booth Jr. (CB) – Quadriceps
The Vikings listed Kendricks as questionable today. Reports say the toe injury should not be serious enough for him to miss the game. Harrison Smith is out with a concussion he suffered Monday night versus the Eagles, while Booth Jr. is out with a quadriceps injury. No further information was given on their injuries or the longevity of them.
The Lions come into Sunday’s matchup off a win over Washington. The Lions got up big early and fended off a second half push from the Commanders to get their first win of the season. Now they look to continue that winning streak against a division rival. Detroit through two games is averaging 35.5 points per game with 421.5 yards of total offense (235.5 passing and 186.0 rushing). Unfortunately, for as much production as they have produced this season, they have allowed just as much. The Lions have allowed 32.5 points per game, with 442.0 yards of total offense (290.0 passing and 152 rushing). This is somewhat concerning, though these stats can be seen in the close scores each week. The Lions will need to tighten it up on defense Sunday if they want to beat the Vikings who will look to avenge their embarrassing loss to the Eagles.
What To Watch
What I will be watching on Sunday is Jared Goff, Amon-Ra St. Brown, and the rest of the passing offense. Last week against the Commanders Jared Goff went off for 256-yards passing and four touchdowns. His favorite target was St. Brown who had nine receptions for 116 yards and two touchdowns. He also had two carries for 68-yards. Minnesota in their first two games has allowed on average 249 passing yards per game. The Lions will look to continue their success passing the ball, especially with running back D’Andre Swift listed as questionable right now.
Can the Lions stop teams from having a big two quarters? That is what I want to know. Against the Eagles, the Lions gave up all 38 points in the second and thrid quarter. Against Washington, they allowed all 27 to come in the second half. Detroit has struggled at giving up a lot of points in a short period of time. At half time against the Eagles the were up 24-14, a ten point lead. They then allowed the Eagles to score another 14 points in the third extendig their lead to 17 points. Again a similar thing against Washington. Detroit blanked the Commanders in the first half leading 22-0. By the mid-point in the fourth quarter it was an eight point game (21-29).
The Lions either allow teams to take them out of games or allow them back in. Detorit needs to find a way to play a full four quarters on defense and not give up points left and right over a 30 minute stretch. While Minnesota struggled offensivley, don’t let it fool you. They can score and they can score quick with Cook, Jefferson and Thielen.
The Lions have six players listed on their injury list.
- T.J. Hockenson (TE) – Hip
- D’Andre Swift (RB) – Ankle
- Aidan Hutchinson (DE) – Thigh
- Frank Ragnow (C) – N/A
- Jonah Jackson (G) – N/A
- John Cominsky (DE) – N/A
Today the Lions listed T.J. Hockenson and D’Andre Swift as questionable for Sunday’s game. Nothing else was mentioned about their status and whether or not they missed today’s practice. Adian Hutchinson did not participate at Wednesday’s practice. Nothing was listed about Frank Ragnow, John Cominsky, and Jonah Jackson other than their status regarding Sunday’s game.
My bold prediction for this week’s game is that Justin Jefferson and Amon-Ra St. Brown will combine for 250 yards and four touchdowns. Both teams have allowed over 290 yards passing per game and under 155 yards rushing. I’m expecting the passing game to be big, and Jefferson and St. Brown will lead the way on each of their teams. Jefferson was limited last week and is looking to show that it wasn’t a fluke and return to his week one form. On the other side St. Brown will look to continue his impressive start to his season. St. Brown so far this season has 17 receptions for 180 yards and three touchdowns. With them having big games, I expect some fireworks in Sunday’s matchup between these two teams.
The following betting lines are according to ESPN’s Pick Center.
- Minnesota: -5.5
- Detroit: +5.5
- Minnesota: -250
- Detroit: +210
Where To Watch
Detroit at Minnesota will start at 1:00 pm (EST) on Sunday. The game will air on Fox. You can watch the game on the Fox Sports app or on FoxSports.com. The game will also be on NFL Sunday Ticket (Directv). Streaming services that have Fox are fubo TV, Hulu (with live TV), Sling TV, and Youtube TV.
This will be a close one. Minnesota was embarrassed in primetime, and they are not going to be happy about it. This is going to be a close game. Cousins, Jefferson, Goff, and St. Brown are going to all have big games. This will turn into a shootout with each defense struggling in pass defense. The Vikings are also missing two players in their secondary as well. With this we will see some fireworks. In the end even with injuries the Vikings home field advantage will give them an edge and they’ll get back in the win column. Minnesota wins 45-38.
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