The pressure cooker in Minnesota is once again on its highest level.
Donovan McNabb has allowed the Vikings to blow two double-digit second half leads, and the fans are getting very impatient.
An 0-3 start would be a death sentence for any hope of the Vikings to make the playoffs. Top DT Kevin Williams returns from suspension to help out a D-Line that has really missed his presence.
On the flip side, the Detroit Lions have played like one of the best teams in the NFL thus far. They have an explosive offense led by QB Matthew Stafford and a defense that is quickly emerging as one of the tops in the league. They will be looking to go 3-0 for the first time since 1980.
Beating the Vikings and securing a three-game lead over them in the division would be a huge step in finally getting out of the basement in the NFC North.
Where: Mall of America Field at the Metrodome; Minneapolis, Minnesota
When: Sunday, September 25, 1:00 P.M EST
Watch: FOX (local affiliates). DirecTV 710
Live Streaming Audio: NFL.com Audio Pass ($29.99 for year, $27.99 team specific, $9.99 a month)
Listen: Sirius Satellite Radio: 135 (DET) 85 (MIN)
Local: 97.1 The Ticket (DET) 100.3 The Fan (MIN)
Line: Detroit -3.5 Over/Under 44.5
(Odds courtesy of Covers.com)
The Lions are quickly becoming America’s favorite team and that means the line is going to shift a bit too far in their direction. Don’t throw the towel in on the Vikings just yet.
A few trends to keep in mind:
Lions are 3-7-2 ATS in their last 12 meetings.
Lions are 0-8 ATS in their last eight games as a road favorite.
Lions are 1-4-1 ATS in their last six meetings in Minnesota.
Under is 6-0 in the last six meetings.
Under is 6-1 in Vikings last seven games as an underdog.
What’s at Stake?
It’s simple…the Lions will either have a full two-game lead in the NFC North and the tiebreaker over the Vikings…or Minnesota will be right back in the mix, only a game back from their division rival.
Lions Injury Report
TE Brandon Pettigrew (shoulder)—Questionable
WR Maurice Stovall (hand)—Questionable
T Jason Fox (foot)—Questionable
Vikings Injury Report
CB Chris Cook (groin)—Doubtful
Fantasy Start ‘Em
Percy Harvin, WR, Vikings
He has yet to be utilized the way he should, and this is the week coach Leslie Frazier puts him in space. Harvin will be catching more short passes with the potential to get a ton of YAC. Combine that with his kick return duties and I expect Harvin to put up big numbers against the Lions.
Fantasy Sit ‘Em
Jahvid Best, RB, Lions
With the return of Williams, the Vikings front four is going to be incredibly tough to move. The holes aren’t going to be available for Best and he will be forced into a ton of one or two yard gains.
Unless you’re desperate for a flex option, keep Best on the bench.
Toby Gerhart, RB, Vikings
The Lions have always struggled against the run when playing the Vikings and you can bet Adrian Peterson will have a field day. With the success of the run, expect Gerhart to get his fair share of carries that could potentially give him a breakout fantasy game, a week after showing some serious flashes.
What They’re Saying
Jamie Samuelson, Detroit Free Press:
And maybe that sums everything up. ESPN has spent the better part of the day listing off the "surprise" 2-0 teams in football. The Redskins and the Bills are surprising because of their talent base. The Lions? Not that surprising. They’re where they expect to be. And if they expect to be in the playoffs, maybe that’s just where they’ll end up. But they’re not there yet. And they still have a long, enjoyable, way to go.
We've just got to execute the play that was called a little better. Twice, we were lined up in the wrong formation so that's just little mistakes that we're killing ourselves. [If] we're in the right formation, we probably had two walk-in touchdowns.
Key Matchup: Lions secondary vs. Donovan McNabb
The Lions secondary played very well against the Buccaneers in the first half, but got sloppy and almost allowed a huge comeback.
Last week doesn’t count, considering the Chiefs didn’t have a shot once Jamaal Charles went down.
Now they go up against a QB in McNabb that is looking to erase the haters of his last two performances. If the Lions can bait him into a couple of early INTs, the boo-birds might make an appearance.
The Lions haven’t won at Minnesota since 1997. It’s a startling stat that is too hard to ignore…even if the Lions look like world-beaters after two weeks.
Expect the increasingly cocky Lions to get a big serving of humble pie:
Vikings 23 Lions 20