The Detroit Lions (6-4) will play their 78th game on Thanksgiving Day against a red-hot Minnesota Vikings team (8-2) this Thursday. The Vikings bring the fifth overall defense while the Lions sixth-best passing offense. In a season where Detroit has not been able to run the ball or stop opposing runners, this game poses a lot of problems for coach Jim Caldwell and his crew.
The game will be broadcast on FOX at 12:30 p.m. Eastern time.
Nathan McDaniel (6-4 on predictions)
Minnesota Vikings: 17 Detroit Lions: 20
Who thought this year’s Thanksgiving matchup was going to have so many implications?
The Detroit Lions are 2-2 against the Vikings on Thanksgiving all time, with the Lions winning their last three in a row against their NFC North rivals. It will be a battle of a high-flying offense against a lock down defense. Last year’s match up ended 16-13, with Matt Prater sinking the game-winning field goal for the Lions (shocker).
Golden Tate will be Matthew Stafford’s go-to target for his reliability and effectiveness on yards after the catch. The offensive line is going to have trouble keeping the pocket clean for Stafford, and I don’t even want to know how ineffective the running game will be.
This game will likely be a repeat of last year’s slug fest, but who better in the clutch than Stafford and the boys.
Let’s just say I am already writing a paragraph about Matt Prater’s heroics to post in our report card article for the game. Enough said.
Michael Downes (6-4)
Minnesota Vikings: 13 Detroit Lions: 17
This is a bug game for Detroit. Their chances of making the playoffs lie on this game. Detroit has had success against Minnesota this season, beating the Vikings in a sloppy game earlier this season, and they will have to tap into that magic again. Stafford has the offense rolling these past few weeks, but the defense has struggled. The loss of defensive tackle Haloti Ngata has killed the rush defense and the absence of defensive end Ezekiel Ansah has made the pass rush non-existent.
In order for the Lions to win, they need to get pressure on Case Keenum. Don’t allow him to move around the pocket. Swallow him up, force him to make bad throws and take advantage of his mistakes.
Stafford needs to stay upright in this game, but that’s a tall task for a struggling Lions offensive line. However, another week for offensive tackle Taylor Decker to get acclimated and comfortable with his new linemates, I think Detroit will be able to pull off the upset.
Austin Short (6-4)
Minnesota Vikings: 24 Detroit Lions: 20
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