Week 7 Key Match Ups: Minnesota Vikings

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Minnesota Vikings defensive end Brian Robison (96) and linebacker Anthony Barr (55) push Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) out of bounds in the third quarter at TCF Bank Stadium. The Vikings win 26-16. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Matthew Stafford vs. Minnesota Secondary

In their first matchup, the Lions had a one play series that actually lasted two plays. The first was called back on a DPI. Both plays resulted in a Minnesota interception. Harrison Smith intercepted Stafford near midfield on the first play before DE Justin Trattou intercepted Stafford the second time. Minnesota’s defense has 9 takeaways this season, good for 7thbest in the league in per game average (1.8). The Lions have 18 giveaways this season, dead last in the league.

This goes along with my previous point, but turnovers are going to be the biggest factor in this game. The team that wins the turnover battle will win the game. In the last eight matchups between these teams, the team that has won the turnover battle has won the game seven times. In the lone outlier, in December 2013, the Vikings beat the Lions because Marcus Sherels returned a 4th quarter punt to the eight yard line, setting up the go ahead touchdown.

Adrian Peterson, punt returns, and turnovers. Those are the keys to watch for on Sunday.