Detroit Lions vs. Minnesota Vikings Preview and Pick

Detroit Lions (6-5) +3.5, 44.5 O/U at Minnesota Vikings (5-6) -3.5, Metrodome, Minneapolis, 1.00pm EST Sunday
by The Crazy Snake of

Cracks are starting to appear in Detroit. They were soundly beaten by the Packers last start despite a flattering scoreboard and are on a 3 game skid. A Peterson-less Minnesota has now won its past two, including an impressive defeat of the New York Giants last start which included 4 interceptions of Eli Manning. Seems the Manning brothers have caught the same disease of late and both may need a full body condom to aid with protection.

For Minnesota, Chester Taylor has been grinding out the yards in Adrian Peterson’s absence, who by all reports will be back this week. Detroit has a high pick count but that is basically because they are very soft against the pass and have, to a large degree lulled opposing offenses into a false sense of security. Last week versus the Giants the Vikings managed only 129 yards through the air on 10 completions from 12 attempts. Meanwhile, their running game managed 39 carries and they scored no less than 3 pick sixes! And all of this as the worst ranked pass defense in the league! Ironically, their first TD came on a deep ball from Tavaris Jackson to Sidney Rice, the first TD of the game and their last through the air.

The week 2 meeting between these two teams was a nail biting 20-17 Lions home victory. The game, which went the distance, was ultimately decided in over time after both teams’ kickers missed game winning field goals inside the two minute warning. Tavaris Jackson was picked off 4 times in that game. Kitna received a concussion early on and his replacement, J. T. O’Sullivan was picked off twice prior to Kitna returning after the half and giving up an interception of his own. Minnesota also returned a fumble recovered in the opposition half. In all, the game had 10 turnovers, 7 interceptions and 3 lost fumbles. If a similar count occurs in this game it will be next to impossible to predict a result.

On rankings alone Detroit has the goods here. They have a solid to electric passing game against the league’s bottom ranked pass defense. But somehow through that the Vikings continue scoring on defense to keep themselves in games. The Lions’ rush D is ranked 9th and gave up only 66 yards on 20 carries to Peterson when these teams last met. They did, however, give up 38 yards on the ground to Tavaris Jackson, including one TD carry from 7 yards out.

I think we have to assume there will be turnovers in this game. Minnesota currently has a turnover balance of -4 and Detroit has a balance of +1. Obviously, whichever team protects the ball better will win. Minnesota loves to create pressure, and whilst this causes turnovers it can often get them burnt on blown coverage. This game will inevitably be decided on a big play either way and I am not really sure which way. The books have the Vikings as 3.5 point favorites here. On the basis of the previous meeting between these teams and the assumption that Kitna will serve out most of this game, I think Detroit has the better claims with the extra half point beyond the field goal handicap.

The Snake’s Bite: Take the Lions at the +3.5 here. Unlike the Vikings, they do not have to rely on defensive scoring to put up a competitive total. They are capable of stopping Minnesota’s run and the Vikings have shown weakness against the pass. If we assume the previous meeting was something of an aberration we will be backing the better overall team in this one.