Here is our weekly widget, courtesy of the good folks at The Crowd's Line.
As was the case in last week's game, this is a contest that the Minnesota Vikings need to win if they want to be taken seriously as a playoff contender down the stretch. Since the Zombie Brett Favre season of 2009, the Vikings are 1-13-1 in road games against their NFC North foes. That victory came at Detroit in 2012. They were also 1-5 against the NFC North overall last season, including a sweep at the hands of the Lions. The Lions can't sweep the Vikings this year. . .Week 2 at TCF Bank Stadium ensured that. . .and it would be a pretty significant help to the Vikings if they could sweep Detroit for the first time since 2012.
The Lions were the last team in the NFL to get into the win column with their 37-34 victory over the Chicago Bears last week. Like the Vikings, they tried to give their game away, allowing the Bears to put up 18 fourth quarter points before getting a big play in overtime to set up the game-winning field goal.
Thus far, through six games, the Lions are averaging three turnovers a game and have the NFL's worst plus/minus ratio at -8. On the other hand, the Vikings are averaging one turnover a game and are at +3 overall in the give/take. The Lions are also pretty one-dimensional on offense, as they have the worst rushing attack in the league in terms of yardage.
I'm not sure how much has changed in the last six weeks that would swing the advantage in this game away from the Vikings. Yes, games away from Minneapolis have not been overly positive for the Vikings over the past few years, but this team is starting to change under Mike Zimmer. Hopefully they can continue to prove that on Sunday. Last year, Detroit's defense was dominant both in Minnesota and in Detroit. This week, the Vikings' defense will show why they've developed into one of the top units in the NFL.
Give me Vikings 24, Lions 14, with the Vikings moving to 4-2 and taking a big step forward in their pursuit of a playoff spot in the NFC.
Who ya got, ladies and gentlemen?