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NFL Opening Odds: Vikings start as home underdog against Lions

And they probably should be

Minnesota Vikings v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

The Minnesota Vikings have lost three out of their last four games, all of which were winnable and all of which were dropped in relatively sloppy fashion. That’s probably why they’re currently in the role of underdogs, even as they return home to U.S. Bank Stadium, against the team that has the inside track to winning the NFC North this season.

The betting lines have opened for Week 16 in the National Football League, and our friends at the DraftKings Sportsbook have installed the Vikings as an early 3.5-point underdog against the Detroit Lions. Those teams will face off on Sunday afternoon in Minneapolis, with the game being shown on the FOX family of networks. Kickoff for the game is scheduled for noon Central time.

Despite the fact that the Vikings continue to shoot themselves in the foot at every opportunity, they do still have a path to a second consecutive NFC North championship. However, that path is very narrow, as the Vikings have to win all of their final three games while the Lions have to lose out. Given that two of those games are against the Lions. . .they also face off in Detroit in Week 18. . .the Vikings can have some say in whether or not that happens, but it’s going to be very difficult.

The Lions come into Week 16’s game with a record of 10-4, having thrashed Denver in their Week 15 matchup to put themselves on the cusp of their first division title since these two teams played in the NFC Central, not the NFC North. The Vikings enter this one with a record of 7-7, having lost three of their last four by a combined total of six points.

For fans attending the game at U.S. Bank Stadium, please be reminded that the team is calling for the same “Winter Whiteout” that they did last year against the Giants, with fans being asked to wear white to fill the stands. The team will be wearing their white-on-white uniforms and the end zones will be painted (mostly) white as well. Hey, it worked last year. . .the Vikings beat the Giants that week on Greg Joseph’s franchise-record 61-yard field goal as time expired.

If the Vikings are going to win the North again, the journey has to start this weekend against a team that has been one of the best in the conference for this entire season. Here’s hoping this team can get it done.