The Detroit Lions face off against the Minnesota Vikings this Sunday (12/24/23) at 1:00pm EST in Minneapolis, Minnesota as a home game for the Vikings. Get Detroit Lions vs. Minnesota Vikings predictions and best bets below as our best bet is on the Vikings +3.5.
Detroit Lions vs. Minnesota Vikings Prediction & Best Bet
It was absolute heartbreak last week for Minnesota Viking fans as they blew a late lead to the Cincinnati Bengals and eventually lost in overtime. That loss now puts them in a four-way tie for sixth seed NFC wildcard spot at a 7-7 record. Other teams in the running with them include the Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks, and New Orleans Saints. A dangerous place to be, yet still in full control of their own destiny should they win out.
In order to win out, the Vikings must beat the Detroit Lions twice, as well as the Green Bay Packers in between. These games have serious playoff implications, as well as still having a puncher’s chance at winning the division. Luckily for the Vikings, their fears of having to trot out third stringer Nick Mullens may be subsided as he gets the opportunity to bounce back against a weak Lions secondary. A secondary that ranks near dead last in the NFL in both Def Pass Success Rate and Def Pass EPA.
The Lions coverage struggles subsided in their previous contest against the Denver Broncos as their defensive line dominated up front and gave Russell Wilson fits in the pocket. That has been a common theme for the Lions this year, only finding defensive success when their front four is able to generate pressure. While the Vikings offensive line does not grade much better, they make up for it by fielding an impressive pass catching unit who thrives in exploiting gaps in coverage with Jordan Addison, TJ Hockenson, and potentially Justin Jefferson running wild.
On the other end, the Vikings defense is in a great position to succeed as they will make Jared Goff’s day a nightmare with their blend of exotic blitz packages. While Goff normally excels at shredding a blitz, that is usually when the defense also fields a weak secondary. The issue this time around is that the Vikings will be able to bring pressure while also being able to excel in coverage. Heading into this contest, the Vikings defense ranks first in Blitz Rate while also clocking in at top-8 in Def Pass DVOA, Def Pass Success Rate, and Def Pass EPA.
Detroit Lions vs. Minnesota Vikings Prediction & Best Bet: Vikings +3.5
Detroit Lions vs. Minnesota Vikings Betting Odds
This game opened as a pick ’em on the lookahead and has settled with the Vikings as 3.5-point underdogs. They have since reopened the game at -3.5 with the Detroit Lions as the favorite, still sitting at that current number as bettors have yet to move the spread in either direction.
As for the total, oddsmakers believed points would be scored at a moderate pace as they opened the number at 46. Bettors believe points will come at a slightly faster rate, backing the over up to 47 as of writing. The Lions offense should still be able to find some success as a high-powered unit while Nick Mullens gets the opportunity to throw against a weak Lion’s secondary.
Detroit Lions vs. Minnesota Vikings Key Injuries
For what feels like the first time this season, the Lions come into this contest relatively healthy. As for the Vikings, it’s all about Justin Jefferson as he is dealing with nagging injuries yet is not currently listed on their injury report.
Detroit Lions vs. Minnesota Vikings Key Matchups
Can the Vikings front seven shut down the Lions rushing duo?
Jahmyr Gibbs and David Montgomery Vs. Vikings Front Seven
It’s not enough to just rattle Jared Goff as the Lions ground game is just as lethal, if not more important as they stretch the field in the pass attacks favor. Limiting the rushing duo of Jahmyr Gibbs and David Montgomery is vital, potentially shutting the rest of the offense down in the process.
Jahmyr Gibbs w/ another TD!
— Darius Butler (@DariusJButler) December 17, 2023
The Vikings front seven are in a position to do just that as they rank top-10 in both Def Rush DVOA and Def Rush EPA. Limiting mid-field success has been a struggle, ranking slightly below average in Def Rush Success Rate, yet may revert their defense to blitz more on the outside in order to cut off their rushing lanes and contain Goff in a collapsing pocket.