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The Detroit Lions will travel to U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday afternoon to take on the Minnesota Vikings in an NFC North showdown. The Lions are 0-4 this season and are coming off a 24-14 road loss to the Chicago Bears where quarterback Jared Goff had a decent game going 24-of-38 for 299 yards with a pair of touchdowns. The Vikings are not far ahead with a 1-3 record and are coming off a 14-7 home loss against the Cleveland Browns. Quarterback Kirk Cousins struggled as he went 20-of-38 for 203 yards with a touchdown and an interception. These teams play two times per season as they are divisional opponents and the Vikings won both games last season but by a combined 16 points. Let’s take a deeper dive into the matchup to determine where we should be leaning in this game..
The Detroit Lions need to have options for Jared Goff to throw to consistently and tight end T.J. Hockenson has been just that for the offense. Hockenson was held out of Wednesday’s practice with a knee injury so he will be questionable for this upcoming game but so far this season, he has 22 receptions for 215 yards (9.8 yards per catch) with a pair of touchdowns. In the previous game against Chicago, Hockenson finished with four catches on eight targets for 42 yards (10.5 yards per reception). If he can haul in a couple of extra targets, it will do wonders for Detroit.
The Detroit Lions have been struggling defensively this season as they have allowed 29.8 points per game this season. In their previous game against the Chicago Bears, they gave up 24 points on 373 total yards of offense (185 passing, 188 rushing). The Lions dominated on third down defensively as the Bears were just 1-of-8 on third down but converted their only fourth-down attempt. One thing that needs to improve on is the fact that Chicago was able to get 4.8 yards per carry so the defensive line needs to get to their runner. If the Lions can figure out how to get a little better defensively, it can really help out the offense and get them in the win column.
Cooking Up the Running Game
Running back Dalvin Cook has been one of the bright spots on the Minnesota Vikings offense in the past but an ankle injury has limited him a little bit. He did not participate in Wednesday’s practice and has 51 carries for 226 yards (4.4 yards per rush) with a touchdown on the ground and 10 catches for 70 yards (7.0 yards per reception). In his last game against Cleveland, Cook was limited as he had just nine carries for 34 yards (3.8 yards per run) and a pair of receptions for 10 yards (5.0 yards per catch). If he can get healthy, the Vikings will be a hard team to defend against.
The Minnesota Vikings have been a good defensive team this season as they are giving up 23 points per game so far. Looking at their last game against the Cleveland Browns, they allowed 14 points on 327 total yards of offense (143 passing, 184 rushing). The Browns marched down the field on third downs as they went 7-of-18 on third down but one huge note for Minnesota’s defense was the fact they limited Cleveland to just four yards per pass. If they can remain that well in the secondary, it will be difficult to score against them.
Minnesota: 40-17 ATS in their last 57 games coming off a loss
Minnesota: 10-4-1 ATS in their last 15 October games.
- Detroit: 1-5 ATS in their last 6 road games
- Detroit: 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games as a road underdog