Detroit Lions (2-1 SU, 2-1 ATS, 2-1 O/U) vs. Minnesota Vikings (2-1 SU, 2-1 ATS, 2-1 O/U)
NFL: Sunday, October 1, 2017 at 1:00 p.m. EST
The Line: Minnesota -2.5. Total: 42.5
The Detroit Lions will be hoping to bounce back from a wild loss to Atlanta when they visit the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Detroit had been undefeated before falling at home to the Falcons when a touchdown call was reversed on the last play of the game. The Vikings have alternated wins and losses, most recently clobbering Tampa Bay last weekend.
Undefeated, and then not
The Lions were 2-0 heading into their all-undefeated Week 3 showdown against Atlanta. With an apparent touchdown pass from Matthew Stafford to Golden Tate with eight seconds remaining, they seemingly had a 3-0 record in hand. But without a play being run, they went from 3-0 to 2-1. After a video review, Tate’s knee was ruled to have touched the ground before he crossed the goal-line. Because Detroit had no timeouts left, by rule a 10-second runoff ensued and there was no time left on the clock for the home team to run another play. Thus the Falcons escaped with a wild 30-26 victory. Still, it was a solid performance by the Lions against an opponent that won the NFC title last season and is the current favorite to do so once again. They won the turnover battle three to nothing and Matthew Stafford completed 25 of 45 passes for 264 yards and one touchdown. He also scrambled twice for 19 yards.
“I think everybody can split hairs and look at it differently and all that kind of stuff,” head coach Jim Caldwell said of the final play. “I like to deal with reality, and the reality of it is it doesn’t do any good to complain about it. Doesn’t do any good to say, ‘maybe’ (or) ‘perhaps.’ It’s over and done with. We lost the game. They applied the rule as the rule stood correctly, and that’s it. End of story.”
Keen on Keenum
With starter Sam Bradford sidelined by a knee injury, Vikings’ quarterback Case Keenum completed 25 of 33 passes for a career-high 369 yards in last weekend’s 34-17 victory over the Buccaneers. Keenum’s three touchdown passes tied a career high, and his passer rating of 142.1 was the second best of this career. The former University of Houston gun-slinger is 1-1 as a starter this season and he may get another shot this Sunday, although that remains to be seen. Head coach Mike Zimmer said that Bradford is day-to-day with his knee issue. Versatile receiver Stefon Diggs was a big help for Keenum, as he racked up 173 yards and caught two of the QB’s scoring strikes. Running back Dalvin Cook also earned plenty of the Tampa Bay defense’s attention, and he delivered 169 total yards plus his first NFL touchdown, which capped a 75-yard drive to begin the contest. The Vikings, who built a 28-3 lead in the early stages of the third quarter, compiled 494 yards of total offense.
“I accept my role on this team,” Keenum explained. “I know I want to be ready whenever my name is called, so that’s why I prepare.”
“I guess everybody can use a warmup sometimes,” Diggs added. “He came out swinging. When your quarterback is bringing that energy, you just try to match it.”
The Detroit Lions are:
- 2-6 ATS in their last eight overall
- 2-6 ATS in their last eight games against the NFC
- 4-11 ATS in their last 15 games against the NFC North
The Minnesota Vikings are:
- 40-18 ATS in their last 58 overall
- 24-7 ATS in their last 31 home games
- 13-6 ATS in their last 19 games against teams with winning records
The Vikings gained only 237 yards in a 26-9 loss at Pittsburgh in Week 2, but it is safe to say things of turned around. Even if Bradford cannot go, Keenum is playing with confidence now so the home team should feel good about its offense. As for Detroit, last weekend’s thriller is a tough one from which to recover. The Lions are 2-6 ATS in their last eight overall, 2-6 ATS in their last eight against the NFC, 2-6 ATS in their last eight on fieldturf, 4-11 ATS in their last 15 against the NFC North, 0-5 ATS in their last five against winning opponents, and 3-7-2 ATS in their last 12 road games against the Vikings. Minnesota is 40-18 ATS in its last 58 overall, 24-7 ATS in its last 31 at home, 13-6 ATS in its last 19 against winning opponents, and 9-0 ATS in its last nine at home against opponents with winning road records. Count on those trends continuing.
Pick: Minnesota Vikings
Even though Minnesota’s offense is more than serviceable at this point, the team’s strength remains its defense. As for Detroit, it forced Atlanta–normally one of the best teams in terms of protecting the football–into three turnovers. The under is 10-4 in the Lions’ last 14 overall, 21-7 in their last 28 on the road, 13-3 in their last 16 on the road against opponents with winning home records, 10-4 in their last 14 on fieldturf, and 4-1 in their last five against the NFC North. It is also 4-0 in the Vikings’ last four at home against opponents with winning road records, 13-4 in their last 17 against the NFC North, and 8-2 in their last 10 after allowing fewer than 90 rushing yards in their previous outing. Additionally, the under is 6-1 in the last seven meetings between the two teams and 4-0 in Detroit’s last four trips to Minnesota. Look for this one to stay under the total.