Thanksgiving brings families together and divisional rivals too. This Thursday’s slate of holiday football games starts off with the Detroit Lions hosting the Minnesota Vikings in an NFC North battle that has divisional crown aspirations on the line. Currently, the Vikings sit on top of the division two games ahead of the Lions. Detroit handed the Vikings one of their two losses on the season and look to sweep the Purple People Eaters. Kickoff inside Ford Field is at 12:30 PM ET.
Over the last 10 head-to-head meetings, the Lions have gotten the better of the Vikings with a 6-4 record. As mentioned, they defeated Minnesota 14-7 earlier this season and hold a 3-0 divisional record heading into this turkey day game.
Minnesota (8-2) is coming off an impressive home victory over the NFC West leading Los Angeles Rams and have won 6 straight games since their loss to the Lions. The Vikings defense held the top scoring team in the league to just 7 points on their way to a 24-7 victory. This week, Minnesota looks to get revenge on the Lions, build a 3 game lead with just 5 games left, and they would pretty much lock up the division with a win this Thursday.
Detroit (6-4) is coming off a late game win over the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. It was a hard fought battle that helped the Lions extend their winning streak to 3 games. Currently, Detroit is on the outside looking in on the NFC playoffs as they’re behind Seattle and Carolina in the conference. A win this week will be huge for the Lions post season aspirations.
The spread opened as a PICK, but it now sits at +3 for Detroit. However, there are a few books listing the spread at +2.5 for the Lions. Since we’re going with Minnesota, get the spread as low as possible. The Over/Under opened at 45 points and has come down to 44.5 total points.
The way Minnesota is playing, it’s hard to think that they will lose on a short week. The Vikings have found a rhythm on offense and their defense is still one of the best in the league. Minnesota has a 3-1 record on the road and have defeated two quality opponents over the last few weeks. Surprisingly, the Vikings have put up nearly 32ppg over the last 3 games while giving up roughly 18ppg. Their season average is 17.2 ppg allowed and they are one of the best defenses against the run.
Detroit is 2-3 at home, which is surprising. Matt Stafford is playing solid football over the last month and he’s pushed his season totals to 2,760 passing yards, 19 touchdowns and just 5 picks. The Lions lack a credible run game, which does get them in trouble at times. So, the Vikings will be able to drop more defenders in coverage and try to limit the Lions passing offense that’s averaging 276 ypg. Additionally, Detroit averages 27ppg, but has bumped that up to roughly 32ppg over their 3 game winning streak.
The Vikings are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games as a favorite, 5-2 ATS in their last 7 NFC conference games, 5-1 ATS in their last 6 dome games, and 5-0 ATS in their last 5 overall games. The Lions are 2-3-1 ATS in their last 6 games, 2-5 ATS in their last 7 home games, and 8-14-3 ATS in their last 25 games against Minnesota.
I expect Minnesota to come away with the win this week as they’re playing better football than the Lions and are doing it on both sides of the ball. They will shut down Detroit’s running game and contain Stafford on the day. Offensively, Vikings QB Case Keenum has really come on as of late. For the season, the backup QB has 2,194 passing yards, 12 touchdowns and 5 picks. The last two weeks have seen Keenum play his best football of the season and I believe he will continue this week. Look for Minnesota to win this game 20-16.