The Vikings haven’t found much success in division road games the past two seasons, but against a Detroit defense that’s been prone to giving up big plays this year, they will follow Dalvin Cook’s lead to a much-needed NFC North victory in the only building where they’ve posted a road division win since 2017.

THREE BIG STORY LINES

 

Last chance at an NFC North road win

Having lost at Lambeau Field and Soldier Field already, the Vikings will go to Ford Field for their final division road game of the season. They’re 1-3-1 on the road in the NFC North in the past two seasons, with their only road victory coming last December in Detroit.

 

Lions try to rebound from controversial loss

A pair of hotly debated hands-to-the-face calls on Trey Flowers (one of which the NFL admitted shouldn’t have been a penalty) played a major role in Detroit’s one-point loss to Green Bay on Monday night. The Lions head home with a point to prove.

 

Solving Stafford no easy task

In 10 starts against the Vikings with Mike Zimmer as coach, Aaron Rodgers has won five times. That’s the same number of times as Matthew Stafford has beaten Zimmer’s teams, in a stretch that’s turned the Lions QB into an underrated nemesis.

Two key matchups

 

Vikings’ offensive line vs. Lions DE Trey Flowers

When the Vikings played the Patriots last year, Bill Belichick moved Flowers to tackle so he could take advantage of a matchup with then-center Pat Elflein. The Lions have primarily lined Flowers up at right end this year, but could employ a similar tactic if they think they can create mismatches with Elflein, now at left guard, rookie center Garrett Bradbury or right guard Josh Kline.

 

Vikings CB Trae Waynes vs. Lions WR Kenny Golladay

The Vikings haven’t used Xavier Rhodes in shadow coverage for several weeks (and when they’ve played the Lions recently, they’ve often lined him up on Marvin Jones). In either case, Waynes could see plenty of Golladay, the 6-5 Lions receiver who has four touchdowns this season.

ONE STAT THAT MATTERS

 

27 Plays of 20 yards or more the Lions have allowed this season. That is tied for the sixth most in the NFL, despite Detroit already having had its bye week.

THE VIKINGS WILL WIN IF…

They can take care of the ball on the road against a Lions team that leads the league in forced fumbles and ranks sixth in total takeaways, while finding ways of getting to Stafford (who has been sacked only 10 times in five games this season).

THE LIONS WILL WIN IF…

They are able to sustain drives against a Vikings defense that hasn’t given up many big plays this season and has been particularly good at shutting opponents down in the second half; even playing at Ford Field, the Lions offense could have a hard time coming back against the Vikings.

Prediction: Vikings, 23-17

Win Probability 55 percent