Minnesota Vikings vs Detroit Lions Week 17 Pick – NFL January 3

The NFL is set up with another great week of action as we reach the conclusion of the regular season. Sixteen games will be up on the board throughout Sunday to finish out Week 17. One of these games will be between the Minnesota Vikings and the Detroit Lions. These two teams had disappointing seasons, but will look to finish strong. This game will kick off at around 1:00 PM Eastern time.

The Vikings have put up a record of 6-9 throughout this season, which has them in third place of the NFC North. Minnesota has struggled to get anything going throughout the regular season and have taken a big step back. The Vikings have lost three in a row coming into this one.  The Vikings will look to bounce back with a win in this one though as they look to finish the season on a high point.

Detroit has posted a record of 5-10 throughout this season, which has them sitting in last place of the NFC North. The Lions have struggled heavily throughout the entire season. Detroit has lost three games in a row and five of their last six. The Lions will look to finish strong though as they meet up with a division rival in Week 17.

These two teams find themselves eliminated from postseason contention entering Week 17, but pride is still on the line. These two teams are still looking to earn a big win on Sunday afternoon as they look to carry momentum into next season. I expect both teams to try and set the pace early as they look for a win to finish out the 2020-21 campaign.

Previous Matchups

The Vikings and the Lions met up in Week 9 in Minnesota. Matthew Stafford had a passing touchdown, while Chase Daniel threw another touchdown. It was not enough though. Kirk Cousins had three passing touchdowns on the day, including two to Irv Smith Jr. Dalvin Cook rushed for 206 yards and 2 touchdowns to help lead the Vikings to a 34-20 win over Detroit.

Minnesota met up with the New Orleans Saints on Christmas Day in Week 16. Kirk Cousins had three passing touchdowns, while Irv Smith Jr. had two of those receiving touchdowns. Alvin Kamara had a historic day, rushing 22 times for 155 yards and 6 touchdowns. The Saints dominated from the beginning to earn a 52-33 win over the Vikings.

The Lions faced off against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 16. Jamal Agnew had a 74 yard punt return for a touchdown, but that was all Detroit could put on the board. Tom Brady had four passing touchdowns, while Blaine Gabbert added another two passing touchdowns after stepping in. Rob Gronkowski and Mike Evans both had two receiving touchdowns as Tampa Bay won 47-7.

These two teams are coming off huge losses in Week 16. The Vikings were rushed all over by Alvin Kamara, while Detroit allowed the passing game to move down the field with ease. Both teams will look to put up a much better performance in this one after embarrassing performances last week. I expect both teams to try and come out faster in this one.

Quarterback Comparison

Kirk Cousins will get the start under center once gain for the Vikings. Cousins has thrown for 3860 yards, 32 touchdowns and 13 interceptions throughout this season. Cousins was not the problem in last weeks loss to the Saints. He went 27-41 for 291 yards and 3 touchdowns on the day. Minnesota will look for Cousins to put up another strong performance like this one on Sunday.

Matthew Stafford is expected to make the start for the Lions despite his injury issues the last few weeks. Stafford has thrown for 3791 yards, 23 touchdowns and 9 interceptions throughout this season. Stafford was taken out of action early last week after going 2-3 for 17 yards. Detroit will need to protect Stafford better in this one if they want to keep him in for the win.

Stafford remains the backbone of this Lions offense and with his injury issues the last few weeks, it has been concerning for Detroit. Cousins has had a solid season, but will be relied on heavily in this one with Dalvin Cook out. The Vikings will look for Cousins to put up another strong performance after a strong outing in last weeks loss.

Struggling Defenses

Minnesota’s offense has been strong this season, but their defense has given them no help. The Vikings have scored 293 points, which is 13th in the league this season. Minnesota has also gained 5784 yards of offense, which is 6th in the NFL. The Vikings have given up 440 points and 5875 yards to opposing teams, which is 28th and 27th in the league.

The Lions have been mediocre on offense this season, but their defense has been one of the worst in the league. Detroit has scored 342 points and gained 5186 yards of offense, which are 24th and 21st in the NFL. The Lions have given up 482 points to their opponents, which is 32nd in the league. Detroit has also given up 6208 yards, which is 31st in the NFL.

These two teams have struggled mightily on defense this season, which is why they are not fighting for a playoff spot. Detroit’s offense has not been great either, but they are much better when Stafford is in. The Vikings offense has been strong this season, but with Cook out in this one, it could hurt their chances to earn a win in Week 17.

Pick Overview

The Lions and the Vikings will both look to finish this season strong with a win on Sunday. Detroit could be without Stafford and if Stafford is playing, he will still be hurt. The Vikings are without Dalvin Cook in this one, which will hurt their running game. If Minnesota’s offense can get going in this one though, they should be able to beat up on a struggling Lions defense.

BetOnline has Minnesota listed as a -4 against the spread in this one. The Vikings are slight favorites on the road, which makes sense to me. I do not expect Matthew Stafford to go in this one and I do not have a lot of faith in Chase Daniel. If the Vikings offense can get going once again in this one, it should be enough to knock out the Lions to finish the season.

Minnesota Vikings -4
Andruw Burling / Author

Andruw Burling has been writing sports picks since 2017, covering mainly NHL and NBA content, but doing work in other sports as well. Andruw grew up in Las Vegas and has been around sports since a young age. He grew up a huge NHL and NBA fan and continues to use that knowledge in his content today.