Minnesota at Detroit
Time: NOON EST, FOX
Spread: MIN -4
Odds c/o 5dimes
MIN News & Notes:
The Minnesota Vikings are just 6-9 and trail the Green Bay Packers by six games for the NFC first place spot. The Vikings trail No. 2 Chicago by just 2 games though, and Minnesota has lost its last two outings with Ls coming to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Chicago Bears.
The Vikings possess the fifth-worst defense, which allows 29.3 points per game, while it has a middle of the pack offense generating 26.2 points, good for a differential of -3.1 The Vikings rank No. 6 in rushing yardage at 143.9 per game, but its pass attack lingers at No. 18 generating just 241.7 yards per contest.
Of course, it is largely by design that the team is this imbalanced between the rush and pass. Quarterback Kirk Cousins has been successful throwing the ball, and he has completed 67.6 percent of his passes, but Cousins also tallies 5.7 yards-per-carry on his 27 rushing attempts, and both the lead running backs Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison has experienced success with good consistency. Cook averages five yards-per-carry with 16 touchdowns and a team-best 91 first downs.
Mattison has a 4.5 yard-per-carry average and 339 yards on 76 carries. Ameer Abdullah has not seen a lot of touches but fared well in the mere seven he got. This backfield has the depth to continue to improve into the type that can remain a top rushing unit for many seasons to come.
Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen are the top-2 receivers with 1,267 and 868 yards, respectively. Running back Dalvin Cook ranks No. 3 in yardage and tight end Kyle Rudolph and Irv Smith Jr rank No.4 and No.5, respectively, as pass options for Cousins. With three non-wide receiver options in the top-5 pass targets on this team, it is at least a more unconventional pass attack when the Vikings are not making their bread and butter with the run.
DET News & Notes:
Well, one certain thing about this matchup between the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions, is that one of them will end a losing streak. The Lions have lost its last two games and four of its last five, overall. What perhaps is more disconcerting, is that the Lions have not been close in any of those losses. The lone victory was over Washington. Things are hardly rosy, and that all comes after a respectable enough 3-3 start.
The Lions rank No. 11 in passing yards with 254.4 per game, but its rush lingers as one of the worst, ranking No. 30 and managing just 91.3 yards per contest. Overall, it does not stack up well either: The Lions score just 22.8 per game, while its defense surrenders over 32. It all adds up to a -8.3 point differential, which is befitting of its 5-10 record, anyway.
Matthew Stafford has continued to be a good quarterback, but his lack of success certainly caps him from being “Great.” Stafford has 3,791 yards at a 64 percent clip, but he has eight interceptions and 37 sacks (2.5 per game) for a total loss of 249 yards. His passer rating of 95.2 is decent. Overall, it is just not enough, not with the backfield producing so little.
Veteran running back Adrian Peterson seems to have hit the wall of his career, managing just 3.6 yards-per-carry on his team-high 149 attempts. No. 2 back D’Andre Swift has been more productive, but he has just 102 carries to Peterson’s massive load. Swift tallies 4.6 yards-per-carry and he has a team-best seven touchdowns. Stafford has been decent, with a 3.8 yard-per-carry average; but he has no touchdowns. There are certainly some bright spots in Detroit, but they are the same bright spots that have dotted this team’s continued mediocrity.