Minnesota Vikings vs. Detroit Lions (12/11 @ 1:00 p.m. EST.)
Line: Lions -2
Minnesota Vikings vs Detroit Lions Breakdown and Betting Odds
The Minnesota Vikings (10-2) are facing the Detroit Lions (5-7) in an all-division matchup on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. ET. The Lions are 2-point favorites. The over/under is set at 52 points.
The Vikings have owned the all-time series both historically and recently. They have a massive 80-40-2 record against their rivals. Before a stunning upset last season, the Vikings had won the previous eight matchups. The Vikings won the teams’ first matchup this season 28-24.
Minnesota Vikings Overview
The Vikings have been on an extraordinary run. They have won nine of their last 10 games, and they would clinch the NFC North with a victory on Sunday. They occupy the No. 2 seed in the NFC, keeping pace with the 11-1 Eagles the whole season. However, the Vikings are an incomprehensible 9-0 in one-score games. In NFL history, the Vikings are currently the only team to have an undefeated record in one-score games with at least nine wins. This dominant record speaks to the quality of the team, but it also speaks to how they have rarely dominated their opponents. They only have a +10-point differential.
The Vikings are 10th in the NFL in scoring and 19th in the NFL in total offense. They have surpassed 400 yards twice, and they score between 20 and 34 points with metronomic consistency. Kirk Cousins is having a solid yet unspectacular season. His passer rating has taken a 15-point drop from last season, but his QBR is within a point of his 2021 season. Dalvin Cook is having a strong season, and he will likely pass 1,000 yards during this game. He has tacked on seven touchdowns. In the receiving game, Justin Jefferson has played at an All-Pro level. He is on pace for 125 catches, 1,809 yards, and eight touchdowns. Even the offensive line has played at a high level.
Defensively, the Vikings are below average. They are 22nd in scoring defense and 31st in total defense. Their run defense has been a capable unit, but they are among the worst pass defenses in the NFL. They are last in yards allowed and 31st in yards allowed per pass attempt. Part of this stems from the Vikings winning many games, but they can be exploited through the air. They have allowed 300 passing yards in their last four games. However, they stiffen on third down, surrendering a 38.3% conversion rate (13th in the NFL). Za’Darius Smith and Danielle Hunter have played at a Pro Bowl level, and Harrison Smith is among the league leaders in interceptions. Situationally, the Vikings have been second to none.
The Vikings are 6-5-1 ATS including a loss to the Lions as 6.5-point favorites in Week 3. Even during their seven-game win streak, the Vikings were only 3-3-1 ATS. They have won and covered each of the last two weeks, however. As underdogs, the Vikings are 1-2 both ATS and straight-up. They beat the Bills as 6.5-point underdogs, but they lost badly to the Eagles and Cowboys as narrow underdogs. The over is 7-5, hitting in three of their last four games.
Detroit Lions Overview
The famed kneecap biters from Detroit have ripped off four wins in their last five games, improving from 1-6 to 5-7. They are on the fringe of playoff contention, and they have a somewhat workable schedule for the rest of the season. They could even be favored in each game the rest of the way depending on how subsequent quarterbacks play. The Lions generally only had one side of the ball play well in a given week, but they have begun to play more complementary football in recent weeks.
The Lions have had one of the best offenses in the NFL despite having a two-week stretch in which they scored six points and gained 312 yards per game. They are sixth in scoring and seventh in total offense. Part of this is determined by the game script, but the Lions have scored 30 points six different times including in four of their five wins. Last week, they dropped 40 points on a helpless Jaguars unit. The Lions are top 10 in third-down percentage, red-zone percentage, passing yards, first downs, yards per pass, rushing touchdowns, and percentage of scoring drives. They are being led by a heroic effort from Jared Goff. Goff has his best passer rating since 2018. Jamaal Williams leads the NFL with a ridiculous 14 touchdowns, and Amon-Ra St. Brown could chase down 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns through the air.
The Lions are 5-7 in large part due to their historically bad defense. They are last in scoring defense, total defense, and first downs allowed. Their only saving grace has been their 15 takeaways. They have forced at least one turnover in their last 11 games, and they have a pair of games with three takeaways. The Lions are coming off their best defensive performance of the season, allowing 14 points and 266 yards to the Jaguars. Rookie Aidan Hutchinson is developing nicely as he has 6.0 sacks and two interceptions. Fellow rookie Kerby Joseph has picked off three passes and swatted away several others. The Lions have a young defense, but they can make plays from time to time.
The Lions are 8-4 ATS. They have only been favored in two games before this week, losing outright against Seattle and smacking Jacksonville last week. In their 4-1 stretch, they are 5-0 ATS. The over is 8-4, hitting in three of the last four weeks.
Free Pick: Under 52
At one point this week, the Lions have been everything from -2.5 to +3. If you were to have gotten them as underdogs, they would be an intriguing teaser leg given Minnesota’s inability to blow teams out. However, the best move is Under 52. The Lions defense has played better of late, and the Vikings seem to be incapable of extending leads. The Vikings are nursing some injuries along the offensive line, so their offensive attack could be slightly stifled. The hope should be that neither team surpasses 27 points.