Minnesota Vikings (2-1 SU, 1-2 ATS) vs. Detroit Lions (1-2 SU, 0-3 ATS)
NFL Week 4
Date/Time: Sunday, September 30th, 2012/1:00 p.m. EST
Where: Ford Field, Detroit, Mich.
TV: Fox Network/DirecTV 705
by Badger, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Min +7/DET -7
Over/Under Total: 49
The two dome teams in the NFC North will meet for the first time this season
in the controlled comfort of Ford Field, when the Minnesota Vikings
take on the Detroit Lions in an early Sunday game on Fox.
The Vikings are coming off the biggest upset of week three action when they stunned the San Francisco 49ers at home in the Metrodome, 24-13. Minnesota used a heavy dose of Adrian Peterson (25 carries) to find a way to run for 146 yards on the tough 49ers defense, then watched QB Christian Ponder have a career-best game (2 TD pass, 1 rush) to key the Vikings big win and move them to 2-1 this season.
The Lions on the other hand are coming off a roller-coaster of a game in their, 44-41, loss at Tennessee last Sunday. The Lions scored twice in the final minute-18 seconds, with backup QB Shaun Hill at the helm, thanks in part to a successful onside kick and an answered Hail Mary prayer to tie the game, only to lose it on a field goal in overtime. The Lions lost starting quarterback Matthew Stafford to a hamstring injury late in the game, and his questionable status for the game versus the Vikings This Sunday has made the Lions 1-2 start look even worse.
Whether or not Stafford plays has kept this game off the board as of Wednesday.
It’s obviously hard to handicap a game when you don’t know the status of the franchise quarterback. Stafford didn’t practice Wednesday, and supposedly a decision will be made by Friday, but in either case Jim Swartz says the offensive game plan will be the same whether he’s ready to go of if Shaun Hill will have to start. Hill sure looked good in the closing minute and overtime last week, going 10-for-13 for 172 yards and the two game-tying scores, but he’s bounced around the league for a reason and he doesn’t make all of the throws in the Lions pass-heavy offense that Stafford can make.
Minnesota’s defense was very good last week against the 49ers with three sacks and forcing three turnovers, but they did benefit from the fact that San Francisco fell behind early and was forced to chase with the passing game.
The big reason for Minnesota’s good start is the play of the offensive line and the running game, but Peterson did have his heaviest workload of the year last week on his surgically repaired knee, if you believe in the rehabbed knee in back-to-back games on turf is a red flag school of thought. Plus, the Lions defense is good against the run (95 ypg - 11th), so the second-year quarterback Ponder will have to continue his rapid progression as an NFL quarterback on the road in hostile territory.
Some things to keep in mind if and when they do release a point spread and total. The Vikings have struggled against the NFC North, going 2-8-1 ATS in their last 11 division games. Detroit is just as bad, going 0-4 ATS in the last four in the NFC North, and 1-10 vs. the NFC in the last 11 in the conference.
If you want to play a betting trend for this game, the under might be your wager. The under is 6-2 in the last eight head-to-head games in the series, including a 4-1 mark at Ford Field.
Badger’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Too many question marks here. Passing.
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