The Vikings haven’t lost four consecutive games to one team in the division since Mike Zimmer became their head coach. They’ll avoid that distinction with an improved offense that’s probably sick and tired of hearing how it can’t score against Detroit.
Prediction: Vikings 20, Lions 17.
Three big storylines
A happier Thanksgiving?
The Vikings’ 2016 trip to Detroit saw them cede control of the NFC North race to a Lions team that won on a game-ending field goal for the second time in three weeks. Now they’ll try to beat the Lions for just the third time in eight tries under Mike Zimmer.
Offense looks for a boost
In their past three games against the Lions, the Vikings haven’t scored more than 16 points. They managed one touchdown on Oct. 1. They haven’t lost since, averaging 27 points per game. When they played Detroit last, they lost Dalvin Cook and fumbled three times.
Thielen chasing 1,000-yards
Wide receiver Adam Thielen needs just 84 yards to become the first Vikings receiver with a 1,000-yard season since Sidney Rice surpassed the threshold in 2009.
Two key matchups
Vikings DE Everson Griffen vs. Lions LT Taylor Decker
Detroit has its 2016 first-round pick back from injury in time to face Griffen, who called backup Greg Robinson “lazy” before the Vikings’ meeting with the Lions in October. This week he’ll have to play through a foot injury and try to start a new sack streak after seeing his eight-game run end on Sunday.
Vikings CB Xavier Rhodes vs. Lions WR Marvin Jones
Rhodes shadowed Jones in their last meeting, when Jones caught only two passes for 42 yards. It’d seem likely that Rhodes will see plenty of Jones again, as the cornerback prepares to play despite a calf injury that took him out of Sunday’s game for 14 snaps.
One stat that matters
1 Detroit has just one victory this season against a team (Vikings) with a winning record.
The Vikings will win if …
• They can put up some points. They’ve done enough defensively to beat the Lions in their past three meetings; they need to make enough plays and continue their recent red zone success to reach 20 points.
The Lions will win if …
• They can continue to stifle the Vikings’ offense and keep Case Keenum’s downfield throws to a minimum, while establishing at least a competent running game to help Matthew Stafford.
Goessling’s win probability