DETROIT LIONS at MINNESOTA VIKINGS, 1 PM ET
BetAnySports NFL Football Odds: Vikings -4, Total 50.5
Did the Minnesota Vikings get untracked by any chance last weekend? They seemed to play a little “bully ball” with the Green Bay Packers, and with Dalvin Cook apparently good to go, they are in a good position to make Kirk Cousins more effective by being able to take some of the pressure off him.
Cook had been bothered by a groin injury but didn’t show any effects of it last Sunday, as he ran for 163 yards and scored three touchdowns in a win over Green Bay. Some think that Cousins customarily tries to do too much; well, he only had to throw 14 passes against the Packers.
At its best, Minnesota’s offense will run the ball more than it passes. And in the two meetings last season against the Lions, they were able to go heavy on the ground, not chalking up a high yard-per-carry figure but pounding out 286 yards and churning the clock.
Detroit generally has some low efficiency numbers when defending the run; they are 24th in Adjusted Line Yards allowed, and they are not likely to keep opponents without a gain (“stuffing” just 14% of the time).
As most BetAnySports patrons know, Matt Patricia came to the Lions’ head coaching job with a background as an assistant under Bill Belichick, handling defensive coordinator duties. But it is getting more and more clear that he needs to do something to reverse this team’s fortunes. They are 3-4 right now (both SU and ATS) and while they are not horribly out of it, they are not contenders.
Minnesota’s offensive line has the ability to really get humming. This is a team that does not get stuffed without positive yardage very often, although when Cook (second in the league in rushing yards) is not in the lineup, it’s a whole different ball game.
This is usually one of those situations that requires an “all hands on deck” approach, but the Lions unfortunately don’t have that going. In this game they’ll be missing defensive end Trey Flowers, who is on injured reserve with a wrist injury, and he has been the most consistent defender they’ve had.
We wonder whether there will be an “Everson Griffen” factor. For ten years he played in Minnesota, six under coach Mike Zimmer, making the Pro Bowl four times. During the off-season he signed with Dallas as a free agent, but the Lions just made a trade for him.
Griffen not only knows the Vikings’ offensive scheme pretty well, he also has a chip on his shoulder. When asked about Griffen, Zimmer described him as a “good” player for him. Apparently that wasn’t enough for Griffen, who must have been longing to be called “great,” and his feelings were hurt. In this age of high sensitivity and social media, that functions as the equivalent of “blackboard material.”
By the way, Zimmer practically admitted that the Vikes’ run-heavy approach in Green Bay, which featured 30 carries on the part of Cook, was a reaction to the unfavorable weather conditions. That isn’t the case in the indoor setting of US Bank Stadium. The more we see of Cousins, the better a chance Detroit may have. Grabbing more than a field goal, we’re happy to take the points with DETROIT, but keep in mind that we make that call under the assumption that Matthew Stafford, who was placed on the COVID-19 reserve list this week, will get the clearance to play.
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