Detroit Lions vs. Minnesota Vikings Matchup Preview (11/8/20): Betting Odds, Depth Charts, Live Stream (Watch Online)
This season has not gone according to plan for either of these teams. I thought the Lions could make a dark-horse run at the NFC North this season, but things fell off the rails early in the year, and every game matters now as they sit at 3-4, 3rd in their division behind the 6-2 Packers and 5-3 Bears. Minnesota sits at 2-5 in the basement of the NFC North and 3.5 games behind the Packers in first place. These teams have two poor defenses as they’re two of 13 teams with 200+ points scored against so far. The scoring differential isn’t pretty at -29 (Lions) and -31 (Vikings) and both these squads need to turn this season around quickly if they want to make a late playoff run. The Vikings have a 5-game win streak against the Lions and do play at home this week, so they are favored in this game despite having a worse record. This should be a fun, high-scoring matchup between two bad defenses and two solid offenses for these divisional rivals.
For odds movement and full matchup history, visit the Detroit Lions vs. Minnesota Vikings Matchup Page.
Date: Sunday, November 8th, 2020
Time: 1:00 PM ET
Location: U.S. Bank Stadium – Minneapolis, MN
TV Coverage: CBS
Lions vs. Vikings Live Stream
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Detroit Lions: QB Matthew Stafford (COVID-19) Q, DB Tracy Walker (foot) Q, LB Jarrad Davis (COVID-19) Q, OG Joe Dahl (back) Q, WR Kenny Golladay (hip) D, DE Trey Flowers (undisclosed) IR, DE Julian Okwara (undisclosed) IR
Minnesota Vikings: CB Cameron Dantzler (concussion) Q, CB Harrison Hand (hamstring) Q, CB Holton Hill (foot) Q, CB Mark Fields (chest) Q, LB Todd Davis (COVID-19) Q, CB Mike Hughes (neck) IR
Detroit Lions Analysis
Matthew Stafford was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list after he came into close contact with a Lions’ staff member who tested positive for the virus. However, if Stafford doesn’t get diagnosed this week and can take multiple negative tests, it sounds like he should be able to play. He’s asymptomatic and according to his wife Kelly’s Instagram, the whole family tested negative on Wednesday and Thursday. The Lions need Stafford in this game, although he has been a bit underwhelming this season as he has a 65.6 QBR, the 17th-best, and also ranks 17th in Football Outsiders’ DVOA for QBs. The Vikings have allowed the third-most passing yards per game so Stafford should be in for a great game if he’s able to take the field.
It is worth noting that Stafford could be without his top wideout, Kenny Golladay, this week. Golladay is listed as doubtful with a hip injury. If he misses, the Lions would turn to Marvin Jones, Danny Amendola, Marvin Hall, and Quintez Cephus at the receiver as well as T.J. Hockenson at tight end and D’Andre Swift at running back. Minnesota has allowed the third-most yards per game and the third-most points per game this year. Hockenson could be the primary benefactor if Kenny G doesn’t play as the second-year tight end has 4+ catches in five of seven games as well as four touchdowns on the year.
The Lions have tried to invest in their running game with the additions of rookie D’Andre Swift and veteran Adrian Peterson, but they still have the fourth-fewest rushing yards in the NFL. Swift has flashed some intriguing skills and is rushing at a 4.5. YPC clip. He’s contributed through the rushing and passing games and has five combined touchdowns, but his lack of usage is still a consistent issue for him. Going forward, I expect Swift to emerge over the second half of the season. However, the Lions have the fourth-worst run-blocking offensive line in the NFL per Football Outsiders. Taylor Decker was taken off the injury report after returning to practice this week and it looks like he’ll take the field for Detroit.
The Lions’ defense has probably been better than most think, but they’ve been pretty average overall. They have allowed 29.4 points per game, the 7th-most, and the absence of defensive ends Trey Flowers and Julian Okwara has rendered this pass rush nonexistent – the Lions have just 10 sacks through 7 games. Jeff Okudah has been put through the wringer in a trial-by-fire rookie season, but he should benefit greatly from the expected return of Desmond Trufant at cornerback. Jarrad Davis has had a breakthrough season for Detroit, although he’s listed as questionable due to COVID-19. Danny Shelton and Jamie Collins can still wreak some havoc in the front seven and Duron Harmon has played better than most free safeties this season.
Detroit Lions Depth Chart
Minnesota Vikings Analysis
It’s fair to say at this point that the Vikings haven’t gotten the production they expected when they bargained their future on Kirk Cousins, although they also haven’t done a great job of surrounding him with enough blocking. Minnesota’s offensive line has allowed an 8.2% adjusted sack rate, the sixth-highest in the NFL per Football Outsiders. Cousins’ QBR this season sits at 53.2, barely above replacement-level and the seventh-worst among all quarterbacks with a minimum of 120 passes. He’s completed just 66.2% of his passes for 1,561 yards and 12 touchdowns to 9 interceptions, so things have not gone according to plan for him.
Dalvin Cook is coming off one of the best games of his career as he powered the Vikings to a surprising road victory over the Packers. Cook rushed 30 times for 163 yards and 3 touchdowns and he added 2 catches for 63 yards and a touchdown. The Lions have allowed 130 rushing yards per game, the 10th-most, so Cook should have another solid outing. Minnesota’s offensive line has performed much better in run-blocking as they’re rated 4th in that category per Football Outsiders. The combination of a strong run-blocking line, a poor run defense that’s missing pieces, and the talent of Cook, he could define this game again.
The Vikings have found the perfect addition to Adam Thielen in their offense in Justin Jefferson and nobody saw this coming from the rookie receiver. Jefferson has caught 40 balls for 563 yards and 3 touchdowns and he has an elite 78% catch rate. Analytics love Jefferson as well – he ranks 1st in DYAR and 1st in DVOA among all wide receivers on Football Outsiders. His presence has also allowed Thielen to perform very well – he already has 7 touchdown receptions. The matchups between Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson vs. Desmond Trufant and Jeff Okudah will be one of the most interesting things to watch in this game.
The Vikings’ defense is a shell of its former self. Anthony Barr and Danielle Hunter had season-ending injuries, leaving this front seven thin beyond Eric Kendricks. Remember, Linval Joseph, Everson Griffen, and Yannick Ngakouwe were also moved out from this team. The Vikings’ entire cornerback room is injured right now and none of them have done particularly well in replacing Trae Waynes, Xavier Rhodes, and Mackensie Alexander, all of whom left in free agency. The Vikings’ defense likely isn’t as bad as we saw early in the year, but they rank below-average in both run and pass defense per Football Outsiders.
Minnesota Vikings Depth Chart
Spread: Vikings -5, Lions +5
Moneyline: Vikings =208, Lions +188
Over/Under: 50.5 points
The money has been pretty even coming in on this game, although some sportsbooks don’t even have this game available at the moment as Matthew Stafford’s status is still up-in-the-air. Regardless of what happens with Stafford, I don’t expect this line to land here, so it’s tough to give a real betting prediction here. However, I would lean towards the Vikings side of things – they have a 5-game winning streak against the Lions and Detroit’s defense was awful last week with several players injured. The Vikings are also 4-3 ATS this season compared to 3-4 for the Lions. I trust Mike Zimmer much more as a head coach and I can see this game becoming a rout if Stafford can’t play, especially with Kenny Golladay likely out. I’ll be checking back here later in the week to update this with the newest lines, but for now, give me Minnesota to cover the spread. The under has hit in 7 of these teams’ last 10 matchups, so I’ll lean that way as well.
My prediction: Vikings win 26-20, Vikings cover, under 50.5 points
- Michigan Sports Betting
- Illinois Sports Betting
- New York Sports Betting
- Tennessee Sports Betting
- DraftKings Illinois
- BetMGM Michigan
- FanDuel Michigan
- DraftKings Michigan
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Daily Fantasy Picks
Dalvin Cook is coming off perhaps the best game of his career as he surpassed 200 yards from scrimmage and hit paydirt four times against the Packers. I’m not calling for a repeat of that performance, but he should be able to take advantage of a banged-up Lions run defense that wasn’t even that good to begin with. The Lions have allowed the 2nd-most fantasy points per game to running backs.
If Matthew Stafford is able to take the field this week, he becomes a very interesting candidate for DFS. The Vikings have allowed the 6th-most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks and Stafford has had some big games against them in the past. The Vikings have a rotating crew of cornerbacks, none of whom are good, and Stafford will take advantage, assuming he’s on the field.
Adam Thielen/Justin Jefferson
I’m putting the two Vikings receivers together here because I like and dislike them for the same reasons. Thielen and Jefferson are two tremendous talents beloved by analytics and adored by Vikings fans. However, Kirk Cousins only attempted 14 passes last week as Dalvin Cook dominated the offense. If you agree that this will be a lower-scoring, run-heavy approach for Minnesota with Stafford potentially out, you should be fading these guys. However, the talent is there and we’ve seen them both blow up in the right game script.
In a tight end landscape of confusion and frustration, T.J. Hockenson has emerged as one of the most reliable fantasy options. He has now scored 9+ PPR points in every game this season and has posted 50+ yards in five of seven games. With Kenny Golladay likely out this week, Hockenson would become the go-to red-zone receiver for the Lions. He presents a great combination of a solid floor and high upside.