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In-Depth Prediction, Preview, and Odds

Vikings vs. Lions Prediction

Sunday, October 20, 2019 at 1:00pm EDT
Ford Field, Detroit

This article covers a past game!

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In-depth Coverage

This is an in-depth analysis of this game, covering every possible detail and angle. Use the table of contents to navigate between each section, or just jump on in!

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Table of Contents

Last Updated: Friday, October 18, 2019 at 11:49pm EDT

Introduction

A pair of NFC North rivals take the field in what has the makings of being a smashmouth affair in the Motor City. The Minnesota Vikings are on the road as they make the trip to face the Detroit Lions Sunday afternoon. Minnesota rode the aerial assault to a 38-20 win over the Eagles in their previous contest last Sunday. Detroit had Green Bay on the ropes but ultimately suffered the knockout as they fell 23-22 on the road on Monday Night Football. The Vikings own a 74-39-2 advantage in the all-time regular season series and have taken the last three meetings. Last season, Minnesota earned a 24-9 win at home on November 4, 2018 and a 27-9 road win in the most recent matchup on December 23, 2018.

Minnesota Vikings Review

Minnesota earned their second straight win as they carved up a NFC East defense for the second straight week by ripping through the Eagles. The Vikings improved to 4-2 and stayed one game behind the Packers in the NFC North though Green Bay won the first matchup between the teams. Minnesota opened their season with a 28-12 home win over Atlanta but followed that up with a 21-16 road loss to Green Bay. The Vikings whipped the Raiders (34-14) at home before being stifled by the Bears (16-6) on the road in a game where they didn’t find the end zone until late in the fourth quarter. Minnesota drubbed the Giants (28-10) on the road in week five before taking care of business against the Eagles at home.

The Vikings took advantage of a Philadelphia secondary that has been decimated by injuries and, as a result, Kirk Cousins went over the 300 yard mark through the air for the second straight week. Minnesota saw Stefon Diggs, who had struggled early in the season, reel in seven passes for 167 yards and three scores, including touchdowns from 62 and 51 yards, in the victory. The Vikings owned a 447-400 edge in total offense, rolled up 26 first downs while allowing 19 and owned a 32:04 to 27:56 advantage in time of possession. Minnesota’s defense forced three turnovers to help offset the two turnovers that the offense had in the contest. The Vikings could really use a division win as they don’t want to fall to 0-3 in the NFC North.

Detroit Lions Review

Detroit had their chances for the second straight game to upend a top-tier team only to let it slip away. Fourth-quarter meltdowns have been an issue for the Lions this season as they’ve let a lead slip through their fingers in three different games this season. Detroit opened the season with a 27-27 tie with the Cardinals in a game they led 24-6 in the opening minute of the fourth quarter. The Lions rebounded with a home win over the Chargers (13-10) and a road victory over the Eagles (27-24) before the meltdown reared its ugly head again. Detroit had Kansas City on the ropes before falling 34-30 at home in week 4, giving up the winning touchdown with 20 seconds to play. The Lions had a bye week in week five, giving them plenty of time to prepare for their game with the Packers.

On Monday Night Football, the Lions jumped out to a 13-0 lead in the opening two minutes of the second quarter before things started to go sideways. Detroit saw their lead trimmed to 13-10 at the half and Green Bay tied the game at 13 early in the third quarter. The Lions got three Matt Prater field goals, the last from 54 yards with 12:17 to play, to take a 22-13 lead before things unraveled. Detroit gave up a touchdown to make it a two-point game, then managed only one first down on their ensuing possession. The Lions punted the ball back to Green Bay with 6:46 to play and didn’t see the ball again: the Packers went 77 yards and kicked the game-winning field goal as time expired. Detroit was outgained 447-299, lost the first down battle 22-13 and saw the Packers own a 33:06 to 26:54 edge in time of possession. The Lions won the turnover battle, forcing three takeaways while not giving the ball away, yet came up short against Aaron Rodgers again.

The Running Game

Minnesota Vikings Running Offense
vs. Detroit Lions Running Defense

Minnesota Vikings Running Offense

Minnesota has been extremely effective on the ground this season and their ability to move the ball in the run game has made things that much easier for the rest of the team. The Vikings started the season by piling up 38 carries for 172 yards and three scores against the Falcons in the opener. In a losing effort against the Packers in week two, Minnesota ran the ball 27 times for 198 yards and a score: that was followed up by 38 carries for 211 yards and three scores against the Raiders last week. Against the Bears in week 4, it was tough sledding for the Vikings as they were stifled to a season low 40 yards plus a score on 16 carries. Minnesota bounced back in their week five win against the Giants, racking up 211 yards on 34 carries in the victory. The Vikings ran the ball 35 times for 122 yards against Philadelphia last week.

Dalvin Cook leads the team with 108 carries for 583 yards and six scores on the season. Alexander Mattison has 48 carries for 252 yards plus a score while Kirk Cousins chips in 17 carries for 40 yards and a score. Ameer Abdullah (six carries, 34 yards) and Mike Boone (three carries, 28 yards) are quality depth pieces. As a team, Minnesota has rung up nine run plays that have covered at least 20 yards: Cook has five, Mattison three and Boone has one. The Vikings have moved the ball 45 times via the ground this season.

Detroit Lions Run Defense

Detroit has had their ups and downs stopping the ground game of the opposition in the first six weeks of the season and that is fitting of a .500 team. The Lions have given up better than four yards a carry in all five games and have given up more than 100 yards in each contest. Against the Cardinals in the season opener, they allowed 112 yards and a 4.9 yard per carry average. Those numbers spiked to 137 yards and a 5.5 yard per carry average against the Chargers before coming down to 127 yards and 4.2 yards per carry against the Eagles in week three. The Lions continued to struggle against the Chiefs (123 yards, 4.9 yards per carry) before the bye and the Packers (170 yards, 5.9 yards per carry) coming out of it. That could be a tough matchup against a Minnesota team that loves to pound the rock.

Safety Tracy Walker leads the team with 43 tackles (21 solo) on the season. Fellow safety Tavon Wilson (23 tackles, fumble recovery), cornerback Rashaan Melvin (22 tackles), defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson (19 tackles, forced fumble, two fumble recoveries) and defensive end Trey Flowers (18 tackles, forced fumble) round out the top five in that department. Devon Kennard (17 tackles, fumble recovery) leads the team with four tackles for loss: Walker has three while Jahlani Tavai (15 tackles, forced fumble) and Damon Harrison Sr. (13 tackles) both have 2.5 tackles for loss this season. The Lions have recorded 24 tackles for loss this season, forced 12 fumbles and recovered eight so far this season.

Stats

MIN

  • 2nd in run play percentage (52.96 percent)
  • 5th in rushing attempts per game (31.3)
  • 3rd in rushing yards per game (159)
  • 4th in yards per carry (5.1)
  • Tied for 2nd in rushing TD (nine)
  • 5th in longest rush (75 yards)

DET

  • 12th in percentage of run plays against (37.82 percent)
  • 20th in run plays per game against (26.4)
  • 27th in rushing yards allowed per game (133.8)
  • 28th in opposing yards per carry (5.1)
  • Tied for 14th in rushing TD allowed (five)
  • 17th in longest rush allowed (45 yards)

Who has the Edge?

Minnesota is one of the most dangerous run offenses in the league. Now that they've shown they'll throw the ball the last couple of weeks, it merely makes things tougher for the Lions to defend. Detroit has struggled against the run all season long and when you consider that they have yet to limit a team to under 100 yards rushing, it looks like a long day for their defense. Cook and company should have a field day moving the ball on the ground here.

Advantage: Minnesota Vikings

Detroit Lions Running Offense
vs. Minnesota Vikings Running Defense

Detroit Lions Running Offense

The run game, led by Kerryon Johnson, probably has the Lions' run game in the best shape it's been, for the most part, since Barry Sanders retired. While it hasn't paid a ton of dividends in the early going, Detroit is at least staying dedicated to the run as opposed to selling out on it and going solely to the air. The Lions have two games where they have run for more than 100 yards in a game this season. Detroit ran 32 times for 116 yards against the Cardinals before sputtering against the Chargers (28 carries, 94 yards) and the Eagles (28 carries, 86 yards) in weeks two and three. In week four against the Chiefs, the Lions had their best game, running the ball 35 times for 186 yards but were held in check against Green Bay, running the ball 20 times for a measly 56 yards.

Johnson leads the team with 87 carries though he has picked up only 285 yards and two scores. J.D. McKissic is next in line with 10 carries for 80 yards while the now-departed C.J. Anderson had 16 carries for 43 yards before being released. Detroit picked up Paul Perkins off waivers from the Giants: it remains to be seen how he'll fit into the system as he has yet to see the field. Ty Johnson (13 carries, 54 yards) and Stafford (15 carries, 63 yards) have had their chances on the ground. The Lions have just two runs that have covered at least 20 yards, though they have moved the chains 27 times on the ground this season.

Minnesota Vikings Run Defense

Minnesota has been fairly decent at stopping the run so far this season. The Vikings look to continue their early success against the ground game of the opposition here. This season, Minnesota allowed 73 yards on 17 carries to the Falcons in the series opener. The Vikings were sliced for 33 carries for 144 yards plus a score against Green Bay in week 2 before holding Oakland to 20 carries for 88 yards in week 3. Minnesota held the Bears in check in last week’s action, holding Chicago to a measly 72 yards on 33 rushing attempts for a 2.2 yard per carry average. The Vikings had another solid outing against the Giants, limiting New York to only 64 yards on 20 carries. Minnesota did have some problems against the Eagles, allowing 22 carries for 108 yards in week six.

Eric Kendricks leads the team with 49 tackles (38 solo) on the season. Harrison Smith (34 tackles, forced fumble, fumble recovery), Xavier Rhodes (28 tackles), Danielle Hunter (31 tackles) and Anthony Harris (28 tackles, fumble recovery) are solid defenders as well. Hunter leads the team with eight tackles for loss on the season while Linval Joseph (21 tackles) and Everson Griffen (15 tackles) each have four while Eric Wilson (21 tackles) and Anthony Barr (27 tackles, fumble recovery) both have three. As a team, the Vikings have recorded 35 tackles for loss as a team with three forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries on the year.

Stats

DET

  • 9th in run play percentage (43.86 percent)
  • 9th in rushing attempts per game (28.6)
  • 16th in rushing yards per game (107.6)
  • 26th in yards per carry (3.8)
  • Tied for 24th in rushing TD (two)
  • 13th in longest rush (44 yards)

MIN

  • 11th in percentage of run plays against (37.37 percent)
  • 11th in run plays per game against (24.2)
  • 9th in rushing yards allowed per game (91.5)
  • 8th in opposing yards per carry (3.8)
  • Tied for 1st in rushing TD allowed (one)
  • 1st in longest rush allowed (18 yards)

Who has the Edge?

The Vikings haven't suffocated the run game of the opposition but they don't give up big plays either. Minnesota has been effective at keeping opposing offenses behind the sticks and on the scoreboard, forcing them away from the run. Detroit has had their struggles moving the ball on the ground: both their runs of at least 20 yards have come from McKissic as Johnson has yet to show that he has the explosiveness we saw last season. It's hard to have faith in a run offense that has struggled all season.

Advantage: Minnesota Vikings

The Passing Game

Minnesota Vikings Passing Offense
vs. Detroit Lions Passing Defense

Minnesota Vikings Passing Offense

Minnesota has been extremely effective with the run game this season. As a result, the passing game has suffered as it's taken somewhat of a back seat in the early part of the 2019 campaign. The Vikings had only 98 yards and a score through the air in the opener as they threw only 10 passes against the Falcons. Against Green Bay, Minnesota had 230 yards through the air, a season-high to date, but completed less than 50 percent of their throws. In week 3 against Oakland, the Vikings had 174 yards through the air. That was followed by a showing where Minnesota had 233 yards in week 4 against the Bears but gave up six sacks for 51 yards in the contest. The Vikings went over the 300-yard mark for the first time this season as they threw for 306 yards against the Giants in week 5. Minnesota followed that up with a second straight 300-yard game in week six against the Eagles, racking up 333 yards through the air

Kirk Cousins is 108 of 155 for 1,374 yards with nine touchdowns and three interceptions on the year. He's been sacked 12 times for a loss of 94 yards but the team simply isn't throwing much. Adam Thielen is leading the team with 26 receptions for 366 yards and five scores on the year. Cook has 23 catches for 213 yards but the Vikings need more from Stefon Diggs (23 grabs, 420 yards, four TD) and tight end Kyle Rudolph (nine catches, 72 yards) in the passing game. Minnesota has 21 pass plays of at least 20 yards on the year: Thielen has seven such plays: Diggs is tied for the team lead with seven while Irv Smith Jr. (eight catches, 93 yards) has three and Cook two on the year.

Detroit Lions Passing Defense

Detroit has tried to keep teams in check via the air but the results have been mixed. The Lions have given up two 300-yard games through the air this season and haven’t held an opponent under 250 yards as of yet. Detroit gave up 308 yards through the air in their tie with Arizona in the opener this season. Against Philip Rivers and the Chargers, the Lions allowed 293 yards through the air before limiting Carson Wentz to 259 yards in their week 3 road win. Detroit gave up 315 yards through the air in their loss to Kansas City and then allowed 283 to Green Bay on Monday night.

Kennard leads the Lions in sacks so far this season with three. Harrison Sr. and Christian Jones (18 tackles, two tackles for loss, fumble recovery) are the only other player with multiple sacks as they each have recorded two this season. Justin Coleman (16 tackles, forced fumble, fumble recovery) leads the team with nine pass defenses while Melvin has six and Walker four this season. Coleman, Walker and Darius Slay (13 tackles, three pass defenses, fumble recovery) each have one interception to tie for the team lead. The Lions have recorded 10 sacks, 32 pass defenses and three interceptions as a team this season.

Stats

MIN

  • 31st in pass play percentage (47.04 percent)
  • 9th in completion percentage (69.7)
  • 25th in passing yards per game (213.3)
  • Tied for 12th in TD passes (nine)
  • Tied for 4th in INT thrown (two)
  • 4th in net yards per pass attempt (8.3)
  • Tied for 15th in longest pass play (62 yards)
  • 3rd in passer rating (108.4)

DET

  • 21st in pass play percentage against (62.18 percent)
  • 28th in passing yards per game allowed (280)
  • 3rd in completion percentage allowed (56.5)
  • Tied for 8th in TD passes allowed (six)
  • Tied for 22nd in INT (three)
  • Tied for 26th in sacks (10)
  • 7th in passer rating allowed (82.2)
  • 11th in net yards per pass attempt (6.8)

Who has the Edge?

Cousins was maligned in the first four games of the season as he wasn't delivering a ton of production offensively. Some of that has to go to offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski, who has leaned heavily on the ground game. In the last couple of weeks, he altered the play calling to set up some more plays for Cousins to work the ball to Diggs and Thielen. It's paid dividends as he's responded with back to back 300-yard games. The Lions have struggled getting after the quarterback and they've allowed more than 250 yards per game through the air in every game this season. That gives the Vikings the upper hand against a dazed and confused Lions' defense.

Advantage: Minnesota Vikings

Detroit Lions Passing Offense
vs. Minnesota Vikings Passing Defense

Detroit Lions Passing Offense

Detroit still has Matthew Stafford under center and with him slinging the ball, you know that the Lions are going to be decent in this category. The Lions haven't had to rely on the pass all that much as their pass/run ratio isn't as skewed as we've seen in seasons past. With that said, the passing numbers have dropped each week, much like the rushing numbers on the offensive side of the ball. Detroit had 385 yards against the Cardinals in the opener but saw their numbers drop to 245 yards against the Chargers and 201 against the Eagles. The Lions did bounce back a bit, throwing for 293 yards against Kansas City and 265 against the Packers last week.

Stafford has completed 106 of 173 passes for 1,387 yards with nine touchdowns and two interceptions on the year. He's been sacked 10 times for 76 yards on the year. When the Lions go to the air, Marvin Jones Jr. is second on the team with 20 catches for 294 yards plus a score. Kenny Golladay (team-high 24 grabs, 364 yards, four TD) and Danny Amendola (12 catches, 147 yards, TD) are solid secondary targets. The Lions need more from tight end T.J. Hockenson (15 receptions, 187 yards, TD), who had a big debut but has just eight catches in the last four games combined. Detroit has 23 pass plays of at least 20 yards this season: Jones Jr. leads the team with seven, Jones Jr. has five and Hockenson is next with four.

Minnesota Vikings Passing Defense

Minnesota's pass defense has been soft this season though some of that can be attributed to the fact that they had garbage time against the Falcons and Raiders. This season, Minnesota allowed 304 yards plus two scores to the Falcons in the opener. The Vikings held Green Bay to 209 yards in week 2 before giving up 242 yards in week 3 against the Raiders. In week 4 against the Bears, the Vikings allowed 204 yards through the air to the combination of Mitch Trubisky and backup QB Chase Daniel. The Vikings allowed only 182 yards through the air in week 5 against the Giants. In wee six, the Vikings allowed their second 300-yard passing game of the season as the Eagles finished with 306 yards, many coming with the game already decided. Minnesota has picked up at least one sack in each of their games this season.

Hunter leads the team with six sacks on the year and Griffen is next in line with three. Wilson and Joseph each have a pair of sacks while Barr, Ifeadi Odenigbo (four tackles, tackle for loss) and Shamar Stephen (seven tackles, tackle for loss) each have one sack to their credit. Kendricks leads the team with seven pass defenses while Smith has six: Harris and Trae Waynes (24 tackles, two tackles for loss, forced fumble) both have four while Mike Hughes (nine tackles), Rhodes and Griffen each have three. Harris leads the team with two interceptions while Smith, Griffen, Mackensie Alexander (seven tackles, half a sack, half a tackle for loss, pass defense) and Barr have the others. As a team, Minnesota has 17 sacks, 35 pass defenses and six interceptions on the year.

Stats

DET

  • 24th in pass play percentage (56.14 percent)
  • 27th in completion percentage (61.3)
  • 9th in passing yards per game (262.2)
  • Tied for 12th in TD passes (nine)
  • Tied for 4th in INT thrown (two)
  • 7th in net yards per pass attempt (7.6)
  • Tied for 12th in longest pass play (66 yards)
  • Tied for 7th in passer rating (99.1)

MIN

  • 22nd in pass play percentage against (62.63 percent)
  • 7th in passing yards per game allowed (218.8)
  • 21st in completion percentage allowed (67.7)
  • Tied for 19th in TD passes allowed (10)
  • Tied for 8th in INT (six)
  • Tied for 9th in sacks (17)
  • 14th in passer rating allowed (88.9)
  • 5th in net yards per pass attempt (5.8)

Who has the Edge?

The passing game has been pretty effective for the Lions as they have some decent pass catchers. Golladay has been terrific, Jones Jr. is consistent and Amendola is a solid possession guy provided he stays healthy. The offensive line is going to have to hold their own against a tough Minnesota pass rush that has several guys that can get after the quarterback. The Vikings' secondary is no slouch either but Stafford is a veteran QB. If he can stay upright, he'll find his way to putting up some decent numbers. Detroit gets a slight edge here, especially with the game indoors.

Advantage: Detroit Lions

Intangibles

Minnesota Vikings

Minnesota is 12th in the league in scoring offense as they put up an average of 25 points per game this season. The Vikings are 11th in the league in total offense with 372.3 yards per game and stand 3rd in yards per play with an average of 6.3 yards per snap. Minnesota is 6th in scoring defense as they allow 15.5 points per game. The Vikings are 5th in total defense as they give up 310.3 yards per game and stand 5th in yards per play as they allow 4.8 yards per snap. Minnesota is tied for 12th in the takeaway/giveaway department as they are +1 so far this season.

The Vikings are 8th in the league in red zone success as they convert 63.16 percent of their trips inside the 20 into touchdowns this season. Minnesota is a solid 8th in red zone defense as they give up touchdowns on 50 percent of their opponents’ trips inside the 20 this season. The Vikings are 15th in the league in third down conversions as they convert 39.39 percent of their chances. Minnesota is terrific getting off the field on third down defensively as they are 11th: opposing teams are converting 34.62 percent of their opportunities. The Vikings are 19th in time of possession as they hold the ball 49.03 percent of the time this season.

Dan Bailey is 16 of 17 on extra points and eight of nine on field goal tries this season with a long of 50. Britton Colquitt has averaged 46.4 yards per punt on 22 boots this season: he boasts a 42.1-yard net average with eight punts inside the opposing 20-yard line against no touchbacks. Ameer Abdullah has averaged 29 yards on two kick returns with a long of 33 yards while Chad Beebe has one for 13 yards: he's run back seven punts for a 6.6-yard average with a long of 15. Marcus Sherels has one kick return for nine yards and has averaged 5.5 yards on six punt returns this season. Eric Wilson has blocked a punt: that came in the opener against Atlanta.

Detroit Lions

The Lions have been middle of the pack offensively this season as they are 13th in the league with 23.8 points per contest. Detroit stands 13th in the league in total offense as they average 369.8 yards per contest while ranking 12th in yards per play as they pick up 5.7 yards per snap. The Lions are currently 18th in the league in scoring defense by allowing 23.6 points per contest. Detroit is 29th in the league in total defense by allowing 413.8 yards per game and is 24th in yards per play by allowing 5.9 yards per snap. In giveaway/takeaway, the Lions are 6th with a +5 ratio this season.

The Lions are average when it comes to punching the ball into the end zone once they drive into the red zone as they are ranked 21st in the league by converting 50 percent of their chances. Defensively, Detroit has been solid in the early going, ranking 5th in red zone defense by allowing 45 percent of drives to reach the red zone to end in touchdowns. The Lions are near the middle of the pack in third-down conversions, ranking 20th by converting 35.29 percent of their third-down situations so far this season. Detroit’s defense is just 22nd in those situations as they hold the opposition to a 43.48 percent success on their third downs. The Lions are 14th in the league in time of possession by holding the ball 50.72 percent of the time this season.

Matt Prater is 11 of 12 on extra points and 12 of 14 on field goal tries with a long of 55: he had a kick blocked in week 3 against the Eagles. Sam Martin has averaged 43 yards on his 24 boots with a 40.8-yard net average. He has placed 10 punts inside the opposing 20-yard line against two touchbacks. Jamal Agnew has averaged 31 yards per kick return on seven runbacks with a 100-yard score against the Eagles. He has averaged only three yards on nine punt returns while Amendola has averaged 5.5 yards on two returns.

Who has the Edge?

Both teams have solid kicking games with guys that can put points on the board from beyond 50 yards when given the opportunity. The Vikings have the edge in the punting game with Colquitt but that is effectively neutralized by the Lions' advantage in the return game. Wilson did record a punt block in the opener and the Vikings are aggressive at making plays. Matt Patricia has Super Bowl rings but they came as an assistant: the jury is still out on him as a head coach. Mike Zimmer has done a solid job with the Vikings but he has to get the team over the hump. All things considered, this is fairly even when you get down to brass tacks.

Advantage: Push

Final Outlook

Detroit has dropped two straight with a bye sandwiched in between the losses. While those defeats came by a combined five points with the winning score in both games coming in the final minute, the fact remains that the Lions failed to close out either contest. Facing a Minnesota team with some momentum, not to mention the desire to avoid falling to 0-3 in the NFC North, is a tough matchup for the Lions. Cousins looks rejuvenated after the last couple of weeks and his resurgence makes the Vikings that much more difficult to defend.

The Vikings are 7-1-1 ATS in their last 9 games in October, 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games in Week 7, 4-1 ATS in their last 5 road games vs. a team with a losing home record and 4-1-1 ATS in their last 6 games after accumulating more than 250 yards passing in their previous game. Detroit has gone 1-5 ATS in their last 6 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.

Latest Updates, Injury Reports, and Line Movements

Minnesota comes into this contest pretty healthy when all things are considered. The Vikings get Josh Kline back at his guard spot, helping the offensive line against a solid Lions' front four. In the injury department, the lone player that is sure to be missing is starting linebacker Ben Gedeon, who is still out in the concussion protocol. Kentrell Brothers is the only other person listed and he is questionable with a hamstring injury. Eric Wilson will step in again for Gedeon.

Detroit has a couple missing pieces and a series of question marks that could impact them in this contest. The Lions have ruled out defensive tackle Mike Daniels with a foot injury and cornerback Amani Oruwariye with a knee injury. Fullback Nick Bawden is questionable with a back injury, though he's limited in his usefulness. Cornerbacks Darius Slay (hamstring) and Quandre Diggs (hamstring) are both questionable as well, which could be a problem given the resurgence of Thielen and Diggs in the last couple of weeks. Defensive end Da'Shawn Hand is also questionable as he deals with an elbow injury: if he doesn't go, Romeo Okwara will see another hefty workload.

The weather in this one will only be a factor for the tailgaters. Ford Field is enclosed, which means indoors, the temperature will be in the high-60s with no winds to speak of, just a fast turf for the offenses to utilize. Outside, the weather is expected to be nice for late October in the Motor City, with sunny skies and a game-time temperature in the low-60s. Winds are expected out of the south-southwest at five miles per hour with gusts at less than 10 miles per hour. There is no precipitation currently in the forecast.

When the initial lines opened for this contest, this game was considered a pick 'em with the over/under set at 44 points. As of Friday night, the line has shifted slightly to the Vikings being a two-point favorite in the contest. The over/under has ticked downward slightly as it has moved to 43.5 points in this contest. Currently, the moneyline shows Minnesota as a -125 to -135 favorite while the Lions can be found as a +105 to +115 underdog depending on the sportsbook. As of this writing, 61 percent of the bets are backing the Vikings -2 points. When it comes to the moneyline, the public is split down the middle as far as bets go with 50 percent on each side. Meanwhile, 53 percent of bets are projecting this one to stay under the total.

The Lions are dealing with several injury issues and with their defense struggling to come up with stops in the second half of games, it's going to tough sledding. Minnesota has momentum and their offense has become extremely dangerous with the passing game coming to life in the last couple of weeks. The Vikings can ill afford a third divisional loss if they hope to catch Green Bay: look for Minnesota to find a way to prevail here.

Prediction: Minnesota Vikings -1.5

Second Opinion on this pick from StatSalt.com

Additional Insiders' Best Bets

Full-game Total Bet

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While Minnesota hung 38 points last week against the Eagles in a game that went over the total, the fact remains that the Vikings took advantage of an extremely weak Philadelphia secondary. The Vikings don't have that luxury here: while the Lions aren't world beaters, the fact remains that they have been decent at hanging in games this season: they haven't played a game decided by more than four points this season. Games in the NFC North tend to be struggles: Detroit stayed under the total against Green Bay Monday night while the Vikings were under the mark in week 2 against the Packers and in week 4 against the Bears.

The under is 6-0 in the Vikings' last 6 road games, 4-0 in their last 4 games after accumulating more than 350 total yards in their previous game and 8-1 in their last nine against NFC opponents. Detroit has seen the under go 4-0 in their last four against NFC North foes, 7-1 in their last 8 games on fieldturf and 6-1 in their last seven at home. The teams have stayed under the total in five of their last six meetings: look for this one to follow suit.

Prediction: Under 45

Half-time Side Bet

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Minnesota's run game carried the Vikings in the first part of the season but now, it's the passing game getting things going. Cousins' ability to stretch the field by hitting Diggs and Thielen for big plays merely opens up room in the ground game. Detroit has played solid football in the first half of games before falling apart in the second half of their recent contests. It's hard to see the Lions finding a way to shut down all of what Minnesota brings to the table: that gives the Vikings the upper hand at the half.

Prediction: Minnesota Vikings -0.5

Half-time Total Bet

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The Vikings have been effective offensively in the majority of their games this season. Minnesota has put up at least 10 points in the first half of five of their six games and they've put up 18 or better in four of those. The lone team to shut them down in the opening half was the Bears back in week 4 when they were blanked. Detroit has put up at least 13 points in four of their five first halves this season. Given the way both teams have put points on the board early, you have to think this one will be 13-10 or something similar, pushing over the number at intermission.

Prediction: Over 21.5
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Written By Chris Kubala

Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in-depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. Now he is writing for our team here at Winners @ Whiners. Chris keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college. He is also very knowledgeable in the NHL, the NBA, college basketball and MLB. If you want consistency, then be sure and check out Chris’ content daily.