The panic button has been pressed in Minneapolis and a loss on Sunday to the perennial NFC North basement dwellers, the Detroit Lions, might be the final straw before serious changes are made. The (0-2) Detroit Lions will meet the (0-2) Minnesota Vikings in what is the first legitimate “MUST WIN” game of the young NFL season. The Mall of America Field will see these two storied franchises try to put a check in the win column and get back into contention in an always fierce and competitive NFC North division, kickoff slated for 1 PM EST.
The Honolulu Blue and Silver have looked quite impressive, although they have two straight losses to open the 2010 campaign, as they are staying competitive in their matches and finding competitive advantages of their own. An advantage that is becoming clearer each week is the revamped defensive front, they are getting to the quarterback and making life a little easier for their weak and untalented secondary. Last week saw the Lions nearly charge back from an 18-point deficit in the last few minutes of the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles. The Lions were in striking distance of either tying or going ahead after they successfully recovered a K Jason Hanson onside kick but Shaun Hill was extremely ineffective in conducting the two minute offense and the Lions ended up going four and out to finish the contest. The early season talk about the favorite for rookie of the year has to have RB Jahvid Best in its conversation, the University of California product has been sensational through two weeks. Best scripted himself into the NFL history books last week against the Eagles, as he is the only rookie to have 75-plus rushing yards, 150-plus receiving yards and three touchdowns in one game. The explosive tail back leads the NFL with 5 touchdowns and is on pace to shatter RB LaDainian Tomlinson’s record of 31 set back in 2006. The Lions might receive a boost this week if last years standout LB DeAndre Levy can return from a lingering hamstring injury and also they should get back DE Cliff Avril who had a very impressive game against the Bears two weeks ago. The Lions will be focused on getting number 4, Brett Favre, to the ground plenty and often on Sunday afternoon and it might be just the recipe for a road victory against a weary Vikings club.
The Minnesota Vikings have not just stumbled out of the gates, but rather they have yet to proceed through the gates. The Vikes have looked absolutely dismal in their first two appearances and plenty of blame is being placed upon QB Brett Favre and his inability to get the offense moving as of yet. It is finally becoming a reality that Brett Favre’s age might be catching up to him and that his ankle woes are definitely not behind him. Favre is having tremendous problems in the Redzone offense and has been picked off 4 times already this season, also he has a quarterback rating of 56.1 through two games (107.2 last year). Injuries to Favre’s top two receivers from last season haven’t helped his cause as WR Sidney Rice is expected to miss the first half of the season while recovering from hip surgery and WR Percy Harvin is having difficulties dealing with migraines and an injured right hip from last week. On a positive note, RB Adrian Peterson had a very strong effort last weeks against the Fins as he rushed for 145 yards and a touchdown and has yet to put the ball on the ground this season, an issue that was addressed this past off-season. One other bright spot a midst a sea of questions is the play of the defensive unit, they are the sole reason why the two games the Vikes have played have been relatively close. The defense is only giving up 14 points per contest this season and is 7th in the league in pass yards defensively. A fresh helping of the Detroit Lions on Sunday might just be the cure for the Vikings slow start and this offense might finally be able to get its wheels greased against a defense that is having a tough time thus far.
Lions vs Vikings Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Detroit Lions +11
@ Minnesota Vikings -11
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Lions vs Vikings Prediction for Week 3:
Game Total Prediction (TOP PLAY) – When I look at this match up I recognize a potential potent offense that has yet to get going and a very weak defense that would make a Pop Warner team look competitive. Both teams boast talented running and receiving threats in the backfield, Jahvid Best and Adrian Peterson respectively, and coupled with a game on turf has potential to turn into a track meet. The total has gone OVER in 14 of Detroit’s last 21 games on the road, as well the total has gone OVER in 4 of Detroit’s last 6 contests. The Lions have the weapons and potential to put of Big League points, case in point last week against the Eagles, and usually hang tough in games in Minneapolis. I see this game being a breakout game for the Vikings offense but I also see the Lions being quite resilient itself and should be able to capture their points as well. We will look to take the OVER in this NFC North divisional game.
Spread Prediction – I look at this line and wonder if Vegas knows something that the rest of the betting public does not. The Vikings have had a plethora of issues offensively and have given no reason to be favored by double-digit points, even if it is the Lions. Brett Favre is finally looking his age and has been tossed and bruised in his two games played thus far, I see this revamped Detroit front four being able to get to him as well. Detroit is 2-1 against the spread versus Minnesota over the last 3 seasons, while Minnesota is 2-2-2 ATS in its last 6 games when playing Detroit. The Lions are not the Lions we have come to know over the past few years and the regime that has been put in place since GM Matt Millen was exiled have compiled a team that will be competitive in nearly every field they step onto. I do see the Vikings breaking into the win column this week but they will not get it easy, I see this contest decided 31-21 in the home teams favor. Consider grabbing the points with the Lions in this one. Cheers! Prediction – Lions +11
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