Minnesota, fresh off a big upset win against the Green Bay Packers, is 2-5 and remains in the NFC North basement. That doesn’t stop them from being 2.5 point favorites over the Lions getting ready for a big home game for everyone’s fortunes.
It’s more than likely Week 8’s results helped shift this early line. The Lions were blown out at home 41-21 and the Vikings pulled a big upset over the favored Packers. It’s the first meeting between the sides, and a win for Minnesota could help get them out of the NFC North basement where they’ve been since nearly the start of the season.
Early odds don’t give the Lions a great chance of doing that no matter how narrow the line might look heading into the game.
Lions-Vikings Series History
Last season, the Vikings swept the Lions quite easily. Detroit made the game close at home in October, but lost later in the year in Minnesota in a game where Matthew Stafford didn’t play. Detroit had an advantage against the Vikings head to head prior to Matt Patricia’s arrival, but in the last few years, that has vanished. The Vikings have won 5 in a row in the series since 2017, and have swept the last few seasons convincingly. Prior to that, the Lions had won 3 in a row, so it’s been a series of streaks lately.
This year, it’s tough to understate the importance of these games for the Lions. Detroit needs to win against the Vikings to not only stop the bleeding in the season series, but to keep their 2020 season on the right track after a bumpy start. To that end, it’s as important a game as the team will play this year.
Updated 2020 NFC Playoff Standings
The Lions now are set to play the Vikings, Washington, Carolina and Houston. The record of those teams is a paltry 8-21. The best team they could play in the month lies outside that stretch in the form of the Bears, and they have shown some definite vulnerabilities lately. Theoretically, the Lions should be favored in at least a couple more of those upcoming games even if they weren’t this week.
Even with Sunday’s loss, the Lions remain on the periphery of the NFC race at 3-4. They will be battling the likes of the Eagles, Cardinals, 49ers, Rams, Panthers, Buccaneers and naturally the Bears and Packers for the playoff push in the second half. A win Sunday could have been huge for Detroit to climb back into the thick of things, but the team will have to deal with the bitter taste of defeat and come through it to stay in the hunt.
The best way for them to do that is to buck the odds and make sure they do everything they can in order to prove the odds wrong.