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Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions: First Quarter Open Thread

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Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
MINNESOTA VIKINGS (6-7) WK 15 DETROIT LIONS (9-4)

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Date: 14 December 2014
Location: Detroit, MI
Time: 3:25 PM Central Stadium: Ford Field
TV: FOX
DirecTV Ch 717
Radio: Vikings Radio Network
XM Ch 227 (DET)
Sirius Ch 92
TV Announcers: Chris Myers
Ronde Barber
Know Thy Foe: Pride of Detroit
Weather: Indoors
Line: Lions -8, Over/Under 42 (Thanks to the SB Nation Odds Page)
Chris' Prediction: Lions 20, Vikings 17
Final Score:


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-Thou shalt not link illegal feeds of today's game, or I shall kick thy arse to the curb until the game is over. Do not promote then, do not mention them, do not even hint at them. Thou hast been warned.

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-Basically, thou shalt not be a jackwagon in the game thread.

For the first time in about a month, the Minnesota Vikings take to the road as they battle their division rivals from Detroit. The Lions are still fighting for playoff positioning, while the Vikings are looking to finish the season on a positive note. So, what do the Vikings have to do to spoil things a little bit for Detroit today?

1) Protect Teddy Bridgewater - Yes, it's back at the top of the list. The last time these two teams met, Bridgewater put together his worst game as a pro, absorbing eight sacks, throwing three interceptions, and leading the Vikings to just one fourth-quarter field goal. But that was just his second career start, and he's been a markedly better quarterback over the last six weeks or so. He has thrown nine touchdowns to three interceptions (with two of those three being on Hail Mary's) in his past six starts, and looks as though he's really starting to get comfortable with his receivers. He's going to have to be on his toes today, though, as guard Charlie Johnson joins Brandon Fusco and Phil Loadholt on the sidelines, and Matt Kalil is. . .well, still Matt Kalil. This is a huge test for the young quarterback, and he needs to pass with flying colors if the Vikings are to be successful today.

2) Slow down Calvin Johnson - The last time these two teams played, the man known as Megatron sat out with an injury, and the Detroit offense didn't look the same. Now he's back, and has been putting up the sorts of numbers we're used to seeing from him over the past two weeks (19 catches, 304 yards, 3 scores). For Minnesota, cornerback Xavier Rhodes has been playing lights out the last couple of weeks. . .but Mike Zimmer has said that he won't have Rhodes follow Johnson around. Frankly, if I'm the Lions, I don't send Megatron to Rhodes' side of the field at all and let Josh Robinson and Captain Munnerlyn try to stop him all day. The connection of Matthew Stafford to Calvin Johnson is one of the NFL's best, and the Vikings are going to have to at least slow them down to have a chance today.

3) Take care of the football - Last week's victory over the New York Jets was the first time this season the Vikings had won a game when registering a turnover, even though that turnover was Bridgewater's Hail Mary interception at the end of the first half. The team is now 5-1 in games where they don't turn the ball over, and 1-6 in games where they do. In a game on the road against one of the NFL's better defenses, the Vikings are going to have to make the most of their possessions and not give the Lions any more opportunities.

I don't know if the Vikings can pull out a victory this afternoon at Ford Field, but I do expect it to be a much better game than what we saw the first time these two teams got together. If the Vikings can leave Ford Field today at 7-7, I think they've got a very good chance at finishing the season on a serious run. Hopefully they can make that happen.

Kickoff is about an hour away, ladies and gentlemen. . .we hope that you'll be here to watch it with us.

SKOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL VIKINGS!!!!