The Detroit Lions can secure the team's first NFC North title since 1993 with a win against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday in Minnesota.
The Lions are fresh off a blowout win against the Denver Broncos, 42-17, to get back on track after dropping two of three prior to last Saturday. Now, the team looks to continue building up some momentum ahead of the postseason.
The Vikings have been cycling through quarterbacks as it searches for an answer for the injured Kirk Cousins, but remain in the playoff hunt now with Nick Mullens under center. Can Mullens, who had the Vikings on the verge of upsetting Bengals, showup at home against the Lions?
Here's our betting preview and prediction for this NFC North showdown between the two top teams.
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Lions vs. Vikings odds, spread and total
Vikings vs. Lions betting trends
- The Lions are 9-5 against the spread (ATS) this season
- Detroit is 4-3 to the OVER in seven road games this season
- The Vikings are 7-4-3 ATS this season
- The Vikings are 4-1-2 ATS as an underdog this season
Lions vs. Vikings Injury Reports
Lions Injury Report
- Brock Wright - TE - Questionable
- Jerry Jacobs - CB - Questionable
Vikings Injury Report
- Alexander Mattison - RB - Questionable
- Jalen Nailor - WR - Questionable
- Brian O'Neil - RT - Questionable
Lions vs. Vikings how to watch
- Date: Sunday, Dec. 19
- Game Time: 1:00 p.m. EST
- Venue: U.S. Bank Stadium
- How to Watch (TV): FOX
- Lions Record: 10-4
- Vikings Record: 7-7
Lions vs. Vikings key players to watch
Jared Goff: Goff got back on track at home against the Broncos, putting together arguably his best start of the season, passing for 278 yards with five touchdowns to boot. Inside seems to be far better for the signal caller, who has completed nearly 70% of his passes at home with a 17-6 touchdown-to-interception ratio at home. That doesn't include two road games at the Chargers (41 points for the Lions) and Saints (33 points) which were played indoors.
Nick Mullens: Kevin O'Connell is trying to find the right answer at quarterback, and Mullens is the guy under center right now after the team moved off Joshua Dobbs. Mullens helped the team win at Las Vegas 3-0 and put together 303 yards at Cincinnati last Saturday, but had some critical errors, leading to two interceptions and consecutive failed quarterback sneaks. How will Mullens fare in his first home start of the season?
Lions vs. Vikings prediction and pick
The Vikings defense has emerged as one of the elite units in the NFL this season under defensive coordinator Brian Flores, up to seventh in EPA/Play, but will run into a high octane offense in the Detroit Lions.
The Lions offense thrives inside of domes, with its unique motion scheme around the play calling of Ben Johnson, and dynamic weapons like running backs Jahmyr Gibbs and David Montgomery as well as rookie tight end Sam LaPorta, who hauled in three touchdowns last Saturday.
While I respect Minnesota's defense, which has more than 21 points just three times since the start of October, I believe that Detroit is set to thrive in this game against a lackluster Minnesota offense that is simply devoid of strong enough quarterback play.
Detroit is eighth in EPA/Play this season, and the offensive line is as healthy as its been with Frank Ragnow returning to the field last week. The team is elite in both pass protection and run blocking, ranking fourth and second respectively, and I believe it will offset the Vikings blitz-happy scheme, opening up downfield chances for Goff and the Lions passing game.
On the other side, Detroit's defense has been suspect in recent weeks, but I don't trust Mullens to take advantage. He only had an average depth of target of about seven yards last week against the Bengals with one big time throw to two turnover worthy plays.
I believe the Lions are equipped to outpace the Vikings offense and win and cover, clinching the NFC North in the process.
Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.
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