How have the Lions fared lately?
For a winless team, Detroit has been playing fairly well these last few weeks. They also played the Vikings tough in the first matchup of the season. Don’t expect a pushover team with Dan Campbell at the helm.
Week 10: Steelers 16 - Lions 16
This game was a comedic affair. The Steelers scored on their opening possession and everyone assumed it would be a route from there. Then the Steelers went 3 and out, INT and 3 and out on their next 3 possessions. The Lions got a TD and the two traded FGs before half to have it tied. The Lions scored a TD the opening drive of the 2nd half (missed XP) and didn’t score for the rest of the game. The Steelers squeaked out a couple of FGs to tied and the last 5 possessions of the 2nd half were all punts for each side. OT was worse somehow. The Lions punted early, but the Steelers then fumbled. The Lions missed the FG to win and the teams then traded punts again. The Steelers were marching down for what appeared to be the winning FG, but fumbled for the 2nd time in OT. Each team had the ball 3 times in OT and no points were scored.
Week 11: Browns 13 - Lions 10
This game was really ugly in the first half for the Lions. Two 3 and outs and an interception for the offense and they were down 13-0 to the Browns. However, the Browns couldn’t muster any points in the 2nd half. Lions got the ball back with 5 minutes left and ended up having to punt with just over 2:30 left on the clock. They never saw the ball again. Another ugly game, but close result for the Lions.
Week 12: Bears 16 - Lions 14
This was the one everyone thought the Lions were going to pull out. There were rumors of Matt Nagy’s firing prior to the game and the Bears were certainly limping in. The Bears punted early and the Lions took their opening possession in for a TD. However, their offense couldn’t muster much else in the first half and the Bears racked up a few scores to make it 13-7 at the half. The Lions opened up the 2nd half with two 3 and outs, but were able to get a TD on their third possession to take the lead 14-13. They were unable to run out the clock and gave the ball back to the Bears with 8:30 left on the clock. The Bears went on a long drive down inside the 10. They then copied the Mike Zimmer strategy and kneeled down to kill the clock. The short FG was good for Chicago to win 16-14.
Lions injury concerns
It’s that time of year where almost no one is healthy. The Lions are no exception. The team hasn’t released its final injury report yet, but I will take an educated guess at it. Try Flowers, Bobby Price, Jalen Reeves-Maybin and D’Andre Swift were all DNPs for Wednesday and Thursday. I will assume they will not play. D’Andre Swift (already ruled out) is Detroit’s best playmaker on offense and will severely limit their ability to move the ball. The team already struggles to get drives going. They will also miss Reeves-Maybin and Flowers if they are unable to go. That is two of their starting 4 LBs. This should make it easy for Mattison and co to move the ball.
Vikings injury concerns
Dalvin Cook, Christian Darrisaw and Cam Bynum have been ruled out. Barr, Mac Alexander and Kendricks are all questionable. It sounds like the two LBs will play. Cook and Darrisaw being out will hurt the offense. Cook likely will sit out a few weeks with his shoulder injury. There hasn’t been much reported about Darrisaw’s ankle injury, but Hill did step in nicely last week when he went down. I expect Mattison to be able to step in nicely in Cook’s absence and wouldn’t be surprised if he had another 100 yard game. I am really hoping to see some Nwangwu on offense too. He is exciting with the ball in his hands. Mac Alexander has been playing poorly these last few weeks and is one of the worst graded CBs in the league. I would expect to see Breeland, Peterson (if he clears COVID protocol) and Dantzler out there more and maybe Mac plays a limited role. Hand could also step in if needed.
#MINvsDET injury report— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) December 3, 2021
OUT: Camryn Bynum, Dalvin Cook, Christian Darrisaw
QUESTIONABLE: Mackensie Alexander, Anthony Barr, Eric Kendricks
My game prediction
This should be an easy win for the Vikings, but nothing seems to come easy for this team. Dan Campbell has his team fighting hard, but their offense is the worst. The Lions specialize in 3 and outs and turnovers. They cannot sustain drives and this will be even more difficult with D’Andre Swift out. I can’t see them scoring more than 10-13 points unless they are gifted a score by the Vikings. The Vikings, even without Cook, should be able to muster 20+ and I will predict a double digit win for the first time since the Seattle game. I’m going to say 30-13 Minnesota victory.