The last time the Vikings and Lions played, Minnesota needed a 54-yard, last-second field goal by Greg Joseph to avoid a disastrous loss at home.
So yeah, the Vikings know they can't take this winless Lions team lightly as they head to Detroit for the rematch.
The Lions are at a significant talent disadvantage in this game, especially without running back D'Andre Swift. But the Vikings are shorthanded as well, with no Dalvin Cook, Christian Darrisaw, or Danielle Hunter, not to mention five defensive starters who are uncertain to play on Sunday.
There are a few reasons to be concerned if you're a Vikings fan, with those injuries being one of them. Another is the fact that all year long, the Vikings have played up or down to their competition. They barely survived a late collapse against the Lions and did the same against the Panthers the following week. 10 of their 11 games have been decided by eight points or fewer, including seven games that either went to overtime or had a margin of four points or fewer.
The Vikings absolutely must win this game to get back to 6-6 if they want a shot at a wild card spot, which means it would be very on-brand for them to slip up and give the Lions their first victory.
Even with all of that said, I think the Vikings will win this game comfortably. Because of what happened in the first meeting between these teams, there's no chance they'll overlook this game. They're motivated to bounce back from a disappointing loss against the 49ers last week, and I think they come out firing on all cylinders in this game.
With or without Dalvin Cook, the Vikings' offense has too much talent for the Lions. Alexander Mattison should have a big day on the ground, and Kirk Cousins will likely have all day to sit in the pocket and find Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen downfield. On the other side of the ball, it's going to be difficult for Jared Goff and the Lions to sustain drives without their top playmaker in Swift. The Vikings are playing very well on special teams recently, as well. I like them to roll in Detroit on Sunday afternoon and cover the 7.5-point spread.
Score prediction: Vikings 35, Lions 17
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