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Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions: First Quarter Open Thread

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Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
MINNESOTA VIKINGS (8-2) WK 12 DETROIT LIONS (6-4)

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Date: 22 November 2017
Location: Detroit, MI
Time: 11:30 AM Central Stadium: Ford Field
TV: FOX
Radio: Vikings Radio Network
XM Ch 82
Sirius Ch 82
TV Announcers: Joe Buck
Troy Aikman
Know Thy Foe: Pride of Detroit
Weather: Indoors
Line: Minnesota -3, Over/Under 45 (Thanks to the SB Nation odds page)
Chris' Prediction: Vikings 24, Lions 20
Final Score: Vikings 30, Lions 23

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Happy Thanksgiving, ladies and gentlemen! The festivities are just about to get underway in the Motor City, as for the second year in a row we're being treated to an NFC North matchup between your Minnesota Vikings and the Detroit Lions. A victory for the purple today would be seven in a row, and could effectively put a dagger in the NFC North race as the Vikings would be at least three games clear of the rest of the division with five games remaining.

So, how can the Vikings go about making that happen?

1) Run the football - In their first five games, the Lions were giving up 74.6 yards/game on the ground, and allowed just one rushing touchdown. Then defensive tackle Haloti Ngata was lost for the season. In the five games since his injury, the Lions are allowing 153.8 yards/game on the ground and have surrendered nine rushing scores. The Vikings, thanks to Latavius Murray, Jerick McKinnon, and their revamped offensive line, have been rolling on the ground, even in the absence of rookie phenom Dalvin Cook. They need to do that again today to shorten the game and keep Matthew Stafford and the Detroit offense off the field.

2) Get Matthew Stafford on the ground - The Lions have one of the best passing offenses in the league, and Stafford has proven to be a tough quarterback to get to the ground. When the Lions have the football, the defensive front needs to get after Stafford and hit him early and often. Many of Minnesota's wins over Detroit in recent history have been punctuated by Stafford hitting the turf numerous times, and that's going to be the best way for the Vikings to pick up a victory in this one.

3) Take care of the football - The last time these two teams met at U.S. Bank Stadium, the Vikings turned the ball over three times, with two of those turnovers leading directly to 11 Detroit points when they started drives in Minnesota territory. The Lions have had their struggles in the red zone, but if you give a team a short field enough times, they're going to take advantage. The Vikings need to make the Lions march the length of the field and not turn the ball over if they want to come out on top in this one.

We are less than an hour away from the start of this one, ladies and gentlemen. We'll have an Open Thread at the start of each quarter, so keep your eye out for those and move along accordingly.

SKOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL VIKINGS!!!!