The Detroit Lions will travel to Minneapolis to take on the Minnesota Vikings in a key NFC North Battle. This is the first of two meetings between the longtime division rivals this season. Both teams are trying to chase down the Chicago Bears, who are surprisingly at the top of the NFC North division.
The Minnesota Vikings had won three straight games before suffering a week eight loss to the New Orleans Saints. The Vikings come into this game with a 4-3-1 record but have outscored their opponents by just a combined two points this season. The Detroit Lions bring a 3-4 record into this matchup with the Vikings and recently traded their best offensive weapon, Golden Tate. Minnesota is a 4.5 point favorite in this game against the Lions.
Vikings Feature Explosive Passing Attack
The Vikings signed quarterback Kirk Cousins in the offseason, and Cousins has had a monster start to his first season in Minnesota. The former Redskins QB has thrown for over 2,500 yards this season and has completed 70 percent of his passes. Wide receiver Adam Thielen leads the NFL with 925 yards already this season and has scored a team-high six touchdowns. Thielen has set an NFL record with eight straight games of at least 100 receiving yards.
Minnesota had the best defensive unit in the NFL a season ago, but they have struggled in 2018. The Vikings are giving up 24.4 points per game this season, which is right at league average. Minnesota has given up an average of 33 points per game in their three losses this season. Danielle Hunter is having a monster season for the Vikings, racking up eight of the team’s 21 sacks.
Lions Defense Can’t Get Stops
Speaking of defense, the Detroit Lions have struggled to stop anyone this season. The Lions are giving up 26.6 points per game, and injuries have played a role on the defensive side of the ball. Detroit has just two interceptions this season, but have sacked opposing quarterbacks 23 times through their first seven games. Ezekiel Ansah could play in this game which would be a huge boost to the Lions defense.
Quarterback Matthew Stafford is playing at an MVP level despite his team’s 3-4 record. Stafford has thrown for over 260 yards per game this season and has cut down on his turnovers this season. With Golden Tate being traded away, look for Marvin Jones Jr. to emerge as the top wide receiver for the Lions going forward. Detroit will need to put up points in this game to keep up with Minnesota.