When Detroit heads to Minnesota in Week 9 it will be trying to prove itself as a true contender within the NFC North. The Lions are 4-4 and are in third place. The Vikings are 5-2 and are in first place. Minnesota would like this win to improve its chances of winning the division. For Detroit this would very much be a crucial win in keeping its hopes of making the NFL Playoffs legitimate for at least a couple more weeks. The Vikings are a 7-point favorite and the over/under for this Game is at 41 on the 5Dimes Sportsbook.
Matthew Stafford has been nothing short of tremendous in 2016. After the retirement of Calvin Johnson and the historically shaky play of Stafford’s career, there certainly weren’t predictions of this type of play in the offseason. Halfway through the season he’s on pace for 4,300 yards, 32 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Stafford has never before thrown single-digit interceptions in a season in which he appeared in all 16 Games, and he’s averaging a career-high 7.64 yards per attempt.
If you’ve been paying attention at all, by now you’ve heard about Marvin Jones’ impact to the Lions’ offense. He’s been filling in pretty well in place of Megatron. Jones had a couple of good years in Cincinnati, but he’s on pace for what would be his first 1,000-yard season in Detroit. The negative part is that he hasn’t had a 100-yard Game since Week 3. Jones has been a welcome addition, but they’ll need him to show more consistency with their lack of a running Game.
Minnesota ranks 2nd in overall yards allowed per Game, 4th in passing yards allowed per Game and 8th in rushing yards allowed per Game. The Vikings also rank first in the NFL with 16 forced turnovers. Stafford has shown the propensity to turn the ball over throughout his career. He just hasn’t done it this season. Watch for this storyline as this Game develops.
Sam Bradford, Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen and Kyle Rudolph have formed a group that produces more than most could have imagined. The three receivers are averaging about 175 receiving yards per Game. Bradford is protecting the ball. He’s thrown eight touchdowns and only one interception on his first 203 passing attempts.
Detroit ranks 23rd in yards allowed per Game. They are also 19th in the league, allowing 259.4 yards per Game. Bradford has already been really good. Watch out for another solid Game in this one against a defense that Bradford should be able to take advantage of.
Our Pick – Vikings -6