Minnesota Vikings vs. Detroit Lions
The top of the NFC North visits the bottom as the Minnesota Vikings host the Detroit Lions. The Lions are -4 point favorites over the Vikings with an over/under point total set at 43.5.
The Minnesota Vikings have gone from the runner up in the NFC to the bottom of their division in just two years and going by how they have played the first two weeks, it doesn’t look like they will be improving much more over the near term. The good news for the Vikings is that QB Donovan McNabb threw for nearly seven times as many yards in week two as he did in week one, the bad news of course is that he threw for just 38 yards in week one. While the Vikings were hoping McNabb would fill in until first round drafdt choice Christian Ponder was ready to give it a go, more than likely Ponder’s time will take place ahead of schedule. Adrian Peterson is still one of the best backs in the game with 218 yards for the season but they have been hard fought yards with defenses stacking the line with no respect for the passing game. Percy Harvin Leads Minnesota in receptions with nine but he has just 83 yards while Michael Jenkins in next for the Vikes with six catches for 55 yards. The defense gets an injection of life this week when Kevin Williams returns from his two game suspension . As of now Antoine Winfield leads the Vikings in tackles with 21 followed by Jamarca Sanford at 14 and Chad Greenway at 13 and Jared Allen has one and a half sacks but he has been in the backfield often. Minnesota has led both of their first two games at the half but Leslie Frazier’s team has been unable to hold on, something which they will try and figure out going forward.
The expectations have been set sky high for the Detroit Lions this season and starting the season with two consecutive wins, they haven’t disappointed. The Lions have been improving the past few seasons with their productivity dropping off shortly when QB Matthew Stafford has been injured. Thus far Stafford has stayed healthy and he hasn’t been sacked as he’s thrown for 599 yards completing 65.3 percent of his passes for seven touchdowns with just two interceptions. On the receiving end of Stafford’s passes have been Calvin Johnson who has nine catches for 117 yards and four touchdowns and Nate Burleson who has 12 catches for 153 yards. Running back was one of the biggest concerns for Detroit coming into the season and so far it’s been Jahvid Best carrying the load gaining 129 yards on 3.5 yards per carry but no other back has been able to average more than 2.8 yards per carry and the Lions will continue to try and improve in the running game. The Lions defense has allowed just 582 yards over the first two games with teams passing for just 375 yards against them and rushing for 207. Justin Durant leads Detroit with 15 tackles followed by Eric Wright, Chris Houston, and DeAndre Levy all have 10 each while Kyle Vanden Bosch leads the team in sacks with two and Ndamukong Suh is simply at the top of the league on the defensive line occupying blockers to free up space for his team mates. Jim Schwartz will do his best to keep his team focused as while the Vikings are winless this is a divisional road game and those are never easy.
Minnesota is 4-9 against the spread in their last 13 games overall, 2-9 against the spread in their last 11 games as an underdog, and 1-7 against the spread when playing a team with a winning record. Detroit is 4-0 against the spread in their last four games against the NFC North, 5-2 against the spread in their last seven road games, and 0-8 against the spread in their last eight games as a road favorite. The home team is 3-1-1 against the spread in the last five meetings of these two.
Look for the Vikings to take it to the ground here and try and keep the Detroit offense off of the field and with Kevin Williams back it isn’t going to help the Lions running game. I see this one being won by the defense as it falls under the total.