The Minnesota Vikings (0-2) face a virtual must-win situation early in the season as they host the Detroit Lions (0-2) in a divisional battle between two winless NFC North teams on Sunday. The Vikings (-12 on the NFL betting lines) simply can not afford to lose another game at this point if they have any hopes of going to the playoffs because the tough part of their schedule awaits them after their bye next week.
The struggles of future Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre are the main reason for Minnesota’s 0-2 start because the offense has not been able to generate enough point to win thus far. Favre is still bothered by his surgically repaired ankle and will get his last injection for pain after facing the Lions. He has thrown four interceptions in the first two games to go along with one touchdown and literally fumbled away the Vikings’ chances of winning last week when he was stripped of the football in the end zone for a defensive touchdown in Miami’s 15-10 victory.
More than anything, Favre is finally starting to show his age and has proven he does not have the ability to win a game on his own like last year due in part to the absence of wide receiver Sidney Rice, who is out for the first half of the season following hip surgery. Minnesota tried hard to pry disgruntled wide receiver Vincent Jackson away from San Diego this past week in order to give Favre a quality weapon to stretch the field and replace Rice, but the Chargers refused to deal him for the Vikings’ offer.
The Vikings will need to continue to depend on running back Adrian Peterson, who did everything he could last week with 28 carries for 145 yards and their lone touchdown. Peterson is ranked third in the NFL in rushing with 232 yards and ran for 133 and two scores in the last meeting with Detroit, a 27-10 win.
The Lions have covered each of their first two losses, dropping both games by a combined eight points. They have lost five straight games against Minnesota but have gone 2-2-1 against the spread during that stretch with the UNDER going 4-1.
Detroit is coming off a 35-32 home loss to Philadelphia last week in which they led 17-7 in the second quarter and nearly rallied back from a 35-17 deficit. The Lions have been very pleased with the development of rookie running back Javid Best, who had 17 carries for 78 yards and two touchdowns and added nine receptions for 154 yards and another score. Best has been a tremendous asset for quarterback Shaun Hill while he is filling in for injured starter Matthew Stafford.
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