The Minnesota Vikings are a much more dangerous team with quarterback Teddy Bridgewater under center. In just two games, Bridgewater already has 42 more passing yards than Matt Cassell on 21 less attempts. He’s also been sacked four less times, and has a QB rating of 92.7 compared to Cassell’s 65.8.
The Viking Age
When Bridgewater fell to an ankle injury, Christian Ponder was given another shot to prove himself during a Thursday night football game against the Packers, but looked pretty awful.
The Vikings’ rushing attack took a huge hit once Adrian Peterson was suspended from all football activities due to his indictment for child abuse. Matt Asiata will be carrying most of the load for the Vikings offense, but watch out for the rookie out of Georgia Southern, Jerick McKinnon, who is an electric back that adds more to the passing game.
The Vikings are ranked near the middle in both passing and rushing defense, but have had more luck against the pass this year. They’ve given up just 225.6 passing yards per game. Among those in the secondary is their 2012 first round pick, free safety Harrison Smith, who currently leads the team in interceptions (3). He’s also 2nd on the team in solo tackles (22). Smith is questionable for Sunday’s game, so if he isn’t able to suit up, then that would be huge for the Lions.
Currently, the Lions share the lead of the NFC North with the Green Bay Packers, but the Vikings are closing in with a 2-3 record. It’s early in the year, but defeating the Vikings on the road would be a huge victory for the Lions.
TE Kyle Rudolph – Abdomen – Out
LB Chad Greenway – Hand/Rib – Doubtful
S Harrison Smith – Ankle – Questionable
RB Matt Asiata – Groin – Probable
QB Teddy Bridgewater – Ankle – Probable
DT Sharrif Floyd – Elbow – Probable
LB Michael Mauti – Foot – Probable
RB Jerick McKinnon – Ankle – Probable
WR Cordarrelle Patterson – Hip – Probable
The Detroit Lions are a one point underdog via Vegas Insider
Keys to Winning
It goes without saying, but the Lions absolutely HAVE to score points on offense against the Vikings. While Teryl Austin’s defense is playing lights out right now, it is not a defense that is built to win football games. Stafford and company will need to sustain long drives throughout the game and keep the defense on the sidelines for more than a few minutes, unlike last week.
With Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush likely out, Stafford will need to find a way to get his other receivers involved. Golden Tate has thrived while he’s been in the spotlight as of late, but other than him, no one else has really stepped it up yet.
This is as close of a matchup you can get. I think it can go either way, but the homer inside of me feels like the Lions will edge this one out in the end.
The offense will continue to struggle on the road against an average defense, but the defense will continue to make plays and keep it close til the end. The difference maker for me will be the fact that the Lions finally have a kicker that can put some points up on the board, and it may even come down to a game winning field goal.
Final Score: Lions 17 – Vikings 14