Matchup Breakdown: Detroit Lions vs. Minnesota Vikings

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Nov 4, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) hands the ball off to running back Kerryon Johnson (33) in the third quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions (5-9) host the Minnesota Vikings (7-6-1) at Ford Field. The Lions have their first losing season since 2015, while the Vikings still have a shot at the playoffs.

With two games left could the Lions play spoiler?

Detroit Lions:

Offensively, the Lions need to see consistency from wide receiver Kenny Golladay. Golladay has been a the Lions’ go-to weapon on offense late this season with a couple big performances. The second-year wide receiver has proven to be a viable downfield option whose big frame makes him an easy target. Finding his groove early was easy but can he maintain the success?

Defensively, cornerback Darius Slay is a lockdown defender within the secondary. The Lions have a lot of holes defensively but a couple positions have a solid component or two. For the secondary, it is Slay. Due to his success this season, Slay has found himself in his second straight Pro Bowl. He’s a talented defensive player with insane athletic ability.

The team’s dark horse will be the offensive line group. The Lions have seen progress from this position as it has helped with the run game. They’ve also shown flashes of excellent pass protection and just needs to be more consistent. They are a very young but extremely talented group. I think Crosby, Glasgow, Decker and Ragnow are all anchoring their positions for next season which is a positive for Detroit’s future.

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Minnesota Vikings:

Nov 18, 2018; Chicago, IL, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) warms up prior to the game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

Kirk Cousins needs to continue his momentum offensively. After the firing of their offensive coordinator, the gears shifted in a big way for Cousins. Throwing the ball looked crisp and his passes for the most part were on target. Cousins still gets too many passes batted down at the line of scrimmage, though.

Defensively, defensive end Danielle Hunter will have to carry the momentum from last week over against Detroit. Hunter has 14.5 sacks on the season and two of which came against Miami last weekend. Hunter is extremely talented and he has the work ethic to match. Putting in the time throughout the season to improve his game each and every week has been key to the Vikings’ success on defense.

The Vikings’ dark horse will be a little different. I think metro Detroit native and Vikings tight end Tyler Conklin will have a big impact offensively. I watched Conklin play throughout his career at Central Michigan and during his pro day. However, Conklin has not run a lot of routes on offense. Regardless, Conklin has played a huge factor in blocking situations which helps set up Dalvin Cook and Kirk Cousins to make bigger plays.

Prediction: Lions 24 – Vikings 38

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