In a little more than eight hours, it’s going to be time once again for Minnesota Vikings football! They head to Ford Field in Detroit for a Thanksgiving Day matchup against the Detroit Lions, with the winner claiming sole possession of first place in the NFC North.
We have our prediction widget from our friends at The Crowd’s Line for you to put your predictions into, as we always do.
As we all know, the last time these two teams got together the Vikings managed to absolutely give away a victory on a last-minute regulation drive by Detroit and giving up a touchdown in overtime without even getting their hands on the football. A loss in this one for Minnesota would really put them behind the 8-ball, as they’d not only be a game behind Detroit in the standings, but the Lions would also own the head-to-head tiebreaker, essentially giving them a two-game lead.
Minnesota will likely be without Stefon Diggs in this one, as he’s probably going to be out with a knee issue. That means it’s going to be up to players like Cordarrelle Patterson and Adam Thielen to carry the Vikings’ short passing game and help the offense move down the field. I’d also expect significantly more from tight end Kyle Rudolph in this one than he did the last time these two teams played. In the first matchup between these teams, Rudolph had just one catch for one yard (though it was a touchdown reception). Detroit has been pretty bad against tight ends this year, so hopefully this time around Rudolph can take advantage.
When Detroit has the ball, the Vikings absolutely must get more pressure on Matthew Stafford than they did in the previous game. A few weeks ago at U.S. Bank Stadium, the Vikings only managed to sack Stafford one time and didn’t get a whole lot of pressure on him. We got a glimpse of what the Vikings are capable of this past Sunday when they sacked Carson Palmer four times and pressured him on nearly two-thirds of his dropbacks, and if they can put together a similar performance this afternoon, it would give a significant boost to their chances of pulling out a victory.
The most important thing for the Vikings in this one would appear to be their mental focus, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. In the last meeting between these two teams, the Vikings allowed a huge 17-play touchdown drive at the end of the first half, completely fell apart to allow the Lions to force overtime, and then had a couple of key penalties on Detroit’s game-winning possession that extended the drive. This team can’t beat themselves if they want to stop Stafford and company, and not committing key penalties is a big part of that. If they can avoid that, they can definitely win this one.
Minnesota ended their four-game losing streak this past Sunday, and now it’s time to see if they can string together some wins. With the division lead on the line, I think that the Vikings can pull it together and do what it takes to get themselves a victory and lead the Motor City in first place.
Vikings 24, Lions 17 in this Thanksgiving Day battle.
That’s my prediction, folks. Who do you have in this one and why?