The Minnesota Vikings (10-2) travel to Detroit to take on the Detroit Lions (5-7) at 1:00 pm (EST) at Ford Field. The Lions are a 2.0-point favorite, but the Vikings are given a 56.8% chance to win according to ESPN’s FPI. This is a matchup of the two teams who are currently ranked 32nd and 31st is total yards allowed per game. This is also an important game because the Vikings can wrap up the NFC North with a win. If they lose, then they’ll have to wait another week to claim the north crown. With that let’s take a look at Minnesota vs. Detroit.
The Minnesota Vikings look to continue their dominance in the NFC north having won their first three games against divisional foes. Last week they defeated the New York Jets (7-5) 27-22 to complete their sweep of the AFC east. Now they turn their attention to the Detroit Lions, a team that they needed a late K.J. Osborn touchdown to beat them in week 3.
Tears are flowing in the city of Detroit at the hands of KJ Osborn. pic.twitter.com/xHRJqiFw2t
— Caden Davis (@CadenDaviss) September 25, 2022
A win for the Vikings would be huge as they would wrap up the NFC north and clinch a berth in the playoffs as well as get them to 11-2. A loss would not be good, even with Detroit being competitive. It would continue to raise questions about the defense’s ability to stop opponents regardless of record.
What To Watch
This is T.J Hockenson’s return the Detroit after being acquired back at the trade deadline. The Vikings received Hockenson along with a 2023 fourth round pick and a conditional pick in 2024. In return they sent the Lions a 2023 second round pick and a 2024 third round pick. Hockenson, since joining Minnesota, has 30 receptions for 225 yards averaging 7.5 yards per catch and a touchdown. I’m expecting Hockenson to have a big game in his return, which hopefully opens up other aspects of the offense on Sunday.
Can the Vikings offense play a complete game against the one league’s worst defenses? Yeah, no need to bring up the Vikings’ own defensive struggles; we know they aren’t great on that side of the ball. The last time Minnesota played Detroit they had an overall well-balanced game offensively. They passed for 250 yards and rushed for 123. Not bad given how inconsistent they’ve been all year (that game included). If they can play a full four quarters on offense against what is likely the worst defense in the league, it will be a good sign going forward as they have struggled to be consistent quarter-to-quarter all season long.
The Minnesota Vikings have 12 players currently on their injury list.
- Garrett Bradbury (C) – Back
- Christian Darrisaw (OT) – Concussion
- Danielle Hunter (LB) – Illness
- Harrison Smith (S) – Illness
- Patrick Peterson (CB) – Illness
- Theo Jackson (S) – Illness
- C.J. Ham (FB) – Illness
- Jonathan Bullard (DE) – Bicep
- Ben Ellefson (TE) – Groin
- Akayleb Evans (CB) – Concussion
- Cameron Dantzler Sr. (CB) – Ankle
- Ty Chandler (RB) – Thumb
Bradbury and Darrisaw were both limited participants at Wednesday’s practice. Hunter, Smith, Peterson, Jackson, Ham, and Bullard all did not participate at practice on Wednesday. The Vikings placed tight end Ben Ellefson and cornerback Akayleb Evans on the IR on Wednesday. Cameron Dantzler Sr. and Ty Chandler were both designated to return from the IR on Wednesday.
The Lions are coming off of a huge 40-14 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars (4-8). Detroit now looks to put together a win streak as they host their division rival in the Minnesota Vikings. The last time these two met the Lions blew a pair of ten-point leads including one in the fourth quarter. A win for Detroit would put them at 6-7 and extend their win streak to two games. It would also avenge their week 3 loss to Minnesota. A loss would drop them to 5-8 and would just be another loss in their mediocre season.
What To Watch
Last time the Lions played the Vikings, Amon-Ra St. Brown was pretty quiet. In week 3 St. Brown had six receptions for 73 yards. Pretty quiet for a guy who has owned Minnesota in his career. He has missed some time this season with injuries but is back and healthy. The Lions will look to him even more on Sunday as Hockenson is no longer with them (against the Vikings in week 3 he had three catches for 18 yards and a touchdown). Last week against the Jaguars St. Brown had 11 receptions for 114 yards and two touchdowns.
The Lions have also been playing really good football as of late having won four of their last five. During that span they have average 28.5 points per game. They’ll need to keep up that averaged as the Vikings average 24.1 points per game.
Can the Lions offense keep up with the Vikings? This is the big question. Minnesota is a lot better than they were 11 weeks ago. They are proven, battle tested, and can be explosive at points. Given that the Lions give up the most yards per game at 379.3 this is a big concern.
The Vikings are also coming off of a stretch where they played four games against the four best defenses in the league. During that stretch they went 3-1 averaging 20.2 points per game. That’s not a lot of points, but this is the worst defense they’ve faced in a month. They must be careful as the Vikings could come in looking to take advantage of the Lions’ defense after facing the best the league has had to offer.
The Detroit Lions have 12 players currently on their injured list.
- Evan Brown (C) – Ankle
- Derrick Barnes (LB) – Knee
- Kayode Awosika (G) – Ankle
- Frank Ragnow (C) – Foot
- Jeff Okudah (CB) – Illness
- Nate Sudfeld (QB) – Illness
- D’Andre Swift (RB) – Ankle
- Kalif Raymond (WR) – Illness
- DeShon Elliott (S) – Ankle
- Taylor Decker (OT) – Ankle
- Quintez Cephus (WR) – Foot
- Craig Reynolds (RB)- Ribs
Brown and Swift were both limited participants at practice on Wednesday. Barnes, Awosika, Ragnow, Okudah, Sudfeld, Raymond, Elliott, and Decker all did not participate at practice on Wednesday. Quintez Cephus was designated to return from the IR on Wednesday and Craig Reynolds is also set to return on Thursday.
My bold prediction is that both teams will combine for over 1,000 yards of total offense. Why? Well, these two give up the most yards in the league ranking 31st (MN) and 32nd (DET). They also rank 6th (DET) and 11th (MN) in points per game. These are two offensively driven teams with the weapons and firepower to back it up. The star though on Sunday will be T.J. Hockenson. Hockenson will have a pair of touchdowns and at least 100 yards receiving in his return to Detroit. I guess that’s two bold predictions, oh well.
The following betting lines are according to ESPN’s Pick Center.
- Minnesota: +2.0
- Detroit: -2.0
- Minnesota: +110
- Detroit: -125
Where To Watch
Minnesota vs. Detroit will air on Fox at 1:00 pm (EST). Commentating the game will be Kenny Albert (play-by-play) and Jonathan Vilma (analyst). 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.
Minnesota vs. Detroit round two. The last time the two played the Vikings needed to score 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to get the win. They won’t need to do that this time, but this game will be entertaining. As I said, these two will combine for 1,000 yards of total offense. Both passing games will go off with Hockenson and St. Brown leading their teams with a pair of touchdowns and big games.
It’ll be back and forth for most of the game, but late the Vikings will take a league and their defense will do what they do best and get a turnover to secure another win and another heartbreaking loss for the Lions. Minnesota wins 38-34.
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