The Vikings are one of two NFL teams undefeated at home. The Lions have won once since they faced the Vikings in October, and they are sending a QB with one NFL start into a treacherous environment for opposing teams. If the Vikings can bottle up the Lions offense, they should win handily.
THREE BIG STORY LINES
Stretch of division games begins
The Vikings will play three of their final four regular-season games at home, with all three of their NFC North opponents coming to U.S. Bank Stadium. They will need a sweep for a chance at the division title.
Lions’ QB carousel continues
With Matthew Stafford out because of an ongoing back injury and Jeff Driskell on injured reserve because of a hamstring issue, the Lions will turn to David Blough for his second NFL start on Sunday.
Vikings likely still without Thielen
Adam Thielen, who injured his right hamstring on a TD catch against the Lions on Oct. 20, doesn’t have a reception since then. He’s only played seven snaps in the Vikings’ past six games and is doubtful for Sunday’s game against the Lions. That likely means another week of Kirk Cousins trying to work without the two-time Pro Bowl selection.
TWO KEY MATCHUPS
Vikings CB Xavier Rhodes vs. Lions WR Marvin Jones
The Vikings have asked Rhodes to shadow receivers only twice this season, and he stayed at his normal right cornerback spot in October instead of following Jones as he has done in years past. Jones scored four touchdowns against the Vikings in Detroit (two of them against Rhodes), and the cornerback will try to rebound from a tough night in Seattle by helping to slow Jones on Sunday.
Vikings offensive line vs. Lions DE Trey Flowers
With Riley Reiff questionable Sunday after suffering a concussion against the Seahawks, Rashod Hill could be in line to start at left tackle against the Lions. Whichever player lines up at left tackle should see plenty of Flowers, who’s posted six sacks this season.
ONE STAT THAT MATTERS
83.0 The average passer rating the Vikings have allowed opposing QBs to post at U.S. Bank Stadium this season. That figure is the eighth-lowest in the NFL.
THE VIKINGS WILL WIN IF…
They run the ball effectively again on Detroit’s defense, pressure Blough into making mistakes and get another effective performance from Kirk Cousins, even though he figures to be without Thielen once again.
THE LIONS WILL WIN IF…
Blough is able to connect on a couple of the big plays he produced last week against the Bears, while the Lions defense — which has given up 370 yards or more in all but two games this year — turns in an inspired showing (which would probably have to include a takeaway or two) against the Vikings.
Prediction: Vikings, 30-14
Win Probability 80%