The 0-1 Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings meet up in Minnesota for week 2 of the NFL schedule. For both of these teams a 0-2 start would be disastrous. The Vikings were envisioning being the spoilers of the NFC North, and the Lions believed they could build off a loss against the Cowboys in the playoffs last season. A loss to start the season isn’t anything to get down about, a second loss though will have these fan bases in desperation mode. I can say for certain, if the Lions’ defense gets worked like they did in the second-half last week, people will already be writing the Lions off. 0-2 is still very premature, but take a look at what the Lions have in front of them after this week. Following today, they welcome the Denver Broncos to Detroit for a nationally televised game next week, and then in week 4 the Lions have to travel to Seattle for a matchup with the Seahawks. Looking at the schedule, if the Lions lose this week, it is very possible that they go 0-4. Let’s assume that the Lions knock the Broncos off last week after losing this week, I think they are looking at 1-3. I don’t want to make predictions this early, but the game against the Seahawks looks like a loss.
With all that said, this is a huge game for the Lions this early in the season. A loss to the Vikings would be crippling. The Vikings didn’t look all that good last week against the 49ers. Question being, is that what the Vikings are? Or did they just get caught up playing on MNF in San Francisco? There was clear rust on Adrian Peterson, I can say that much. The trip out west is never easy for teams and now the Vikings will be at home. Minnesota hasn’t been the easiest places to win games in for the Lions. Note that the Lions have gone only 2-8 in their last ten games playing in Minnesota. In the Lions latest win at Minnesota they dispatched the Vikings for a score of 17-3. The Vikings, specifically Teddy Bridgewater, does not want to take a step back. There are big expectations of him, and in my opinion the verdict is still out on him. Scroll down for my pick in this NFC North matchup between the Lions and Vikings.
Detroit Lions vs. Minnesota Vikings NFL Pick
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Lions vs. Vikings Pick:
The Lions lost a lot defensively in the offseason, notably losing Suh to the Miami Dolphins. Suh is just one player, but he impacts the entire defense. Did you see Rashad Mathis’ performance last week? Keenan Allen made him look silly. Allen finished the contest with 166 yards! Mathis wasn’t even in the picture. With Suh there, the pocket collapses and it forces opposing quarterbacks into bad decisions. The defensive line played great in the first-half, but ultimately got worn down too much. The Lions had a nice rotation with not only Suh, but they also had Nick Fairley stuffing the middle of the line. Suh’s replacement Haloti Ngata got blown off the ball last week and didn’t look in football shape at all. I suspected this was just a victory lap for Ngata and I don’t know if we’re going to see him like we saw in Baltimore.
The Lions finished last in week 1 on defense, allowing 483 of total yards. The majority of that coming in the second-half. The Chargers were held to only 3 points in the first-half, but exploded after halftime. After getting shutdown last week in San Francisco, I think Adrian Peterson gets on track against the Lions. The absence of DeAndre Levy last week hurt immensely and it was very evident. Levy is a guy that was 2nd in the NFL in tackles a year ago, his loss is big. The Lions need to depend on a depleted defense upfront in this game. The holes in the secondary will be there for the Vikings if they can establish the run, which I think they do. The Lions look like the popular pick, but I need to lean with the home team in this game. The Vikings win it by 4 or so.
PICK: VIKINGS -2 (-110)