Detroit Lions vs. Minnesota Vikings Preview and Pick – Point Spread

Detroit Lions (1-7 SU, 2-6 ATS) vs. Minnesota Vikings (7-1 SU, 5-3 ATS), Week 10 NFL, 1:00 p.m. EST, Sunday, November 15, 2009, Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, Minneapolis, Minn. TV: FOX
by Ryno of

Point Spread: Lions +17/Vikings -17
Over/Under: 47.5

The good news for the Lions is that they are not winless. The bad news is that they are still a last place team. The Vikings, meanwhile, couldn’t have made a better move in the offseason than signing Brett Favre.

The Lions are coming off two winnable games that got away. First, they faced a winless Rams team at home after the Lions’ bye week. The Rams won the game, 17-10. On Sunday, they were down 25-20 late in the fourth quarter at Seattle, but the Seahawks won the game, 32-20.

Part of the reason for the Lions’ terrible season has been injuries. Rookie quarterback Matthew Stafford has missed two games and left early from another, running back Kevin Smith has been injured all season and has missed parts of a few games, and wide receiver Calvin Johnson has also been injured for much of the season and has missed two games and a part of another.

When the three of them have played, they’ve been disappointing. Stafford has thrown five touchdown passes and 12 interceptions. Smith has 460 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Johnson has 24 receptions for 352 yards and one touchdown. Without those three guys, the Lions have arguably the worst offense in the NFL. But even with them, they haven’t accomplished much on offense.

The Lions rush defense hasn’t been terrible. They are giving up less than 110 rushing yards per game and are rank in the middle of the pack in the league. But their pass defense ranks second worst in the NFL, allowing 263.1 passing yards per game. They’ve given up 19 passing touchdowns, also second most in the league.

A bad pass defense doesn’t want to run into Favre, but the Lions will have to deal with him this week. Favre has been spectacular this season, leading the Vikings to a 7-1 record. He has thrown for 1,925 yards, 16 touchdowns and three interceptions. Favre has used a whole slew of receivers to throw to, but Sidney Rice has been the No. 1 target. Rice has emerged this season as a legitimate starting wide receiver with 37 receptions for 585 yards and two touchdowns. Percy Harvin, Bernard Berrian, Chester Taylor and Visanthe Shiancoe all have more than 20 receptions and 200 receiving yards as well.

Then, there’s Adrian Peterson, the undisputed best running back in the league. Peterson has 784 rushing yards and nine touchdowns.

With Favre on board, the Vikings offense has been one of the best in the league. They have scored at least 27 points in every game but one. The Lions haven’t scored more than 27 points in any game this season. That one was their only loss, a 27-17 loss to the Steelers that could have went the other way if it weren’t for two late turnovers by the Vikings in the red zone.

The Lions don’t have much of a chance of keeping up with the Vikings. These two offenses are on opposite ends of the spectrum. For the Lions to have any chance, they would have to force some turnovers and not force any turnovers themselves. Stafford and Smith will have to have their best game of the season. But with Kevin Williams and Pat Williams in the middle of the defensive line, it will be tough for Smith to gain much on the Vikings defense.

When these teams played earlier this season, the Vikings won 27-13. Smith had a decent game with 83 rushing yards but he did lose a fumble. Stafford had only 152 passing yards and he threw two interceptions. Favre only threw for 155 yards, but he was 23-for-27 and had two touchdowns. Peterson ran for 92 yards and a touchdown on only 15 carries.

The Lions are 0-4 ATS on the road this season. The total has gone over in five of the Vikings’ last six games. The Vikings are 1-5 ATS in their last six home games.

Ryno’s Pick: There is no doubt that the Vikings will win this game. The Lions defense can’t shut down the Vikings offense. Peterson and Favre should have field days against this defense. The Vikings allowed some yardage to Smith last time these teams met, but they shut down Stafford. This time around, they will shut down Smith and let Stafford try to beat them. With the Vikings coming off a bye, they will be prepared and will not let up. Take the Vikings -17.