vs-lions (1)

While it’s been an up-and-down year for the Minnesota Vikings, it’s been a down and more down year for their divisional rivals, the Detroit Lions.

The Vikings just can’t seem to get above .500 this season thanks in part to a number of close losses. In fact, 10 of their 11 games – win or lose – have been decided by one score (the lone exception a Week 3 win over Seattle). 

Minnesota edged Detroit back in Week 5, 19-17, one of the Lions’ six games decided by one score. Each of the last three Detroit games have ended in that fashion.

The Vikings have to play Thursday, so a blowout to rest regulars would be nice. But based on this season, don’t count on it.

But can we count on Minnesota to keep the Lions winless? Imagine the reaction if the Vikings become Detroit’s first victim.

Here’s this week’s predictions from around the web:

Barry Wilner of the Associated Press: Vikings 30, Lions 17. “Minnesota makes a habit of not finishing, but Detroit has perfected that art.”

Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times: Vikings 27, Lions 17. “The Vikings will miss Dalvin Cook but should be able to handle Detroit without him. Alexander Mattison is capable of picking up that slack against a Detroit team that can hang in for a while.”

The Miami Herald’s Greg Cote: Vikings 24, Lions 21. “Both teams missing their top backs in Dalvin Cook and D’Andre Swift, respectively, but Kirk Cousins has lots more weapons left than does Jared Goff. See it close, though. Vikes only beat Lions, 19-17, in first meeting, and Detroit (7-4 against spread) has turned losing close into an art form.”

NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal: Vikings 27, Lions 17. “I've been impressed with how Mike Zimmer has kept his defense looking like the usual Vikings unit despite injuries. This is the right week to be without Patrick Peterson. And the loss of Dalvin Cook hurts less because, as Zimmer noted this week, Minnesota wasn't running it well anyway. The Lions' defense had some extra days of rest, hasn't given up more than 16 points in the three games since the bye and did a great job against the Vikes in Week 5. Detroit has lost by double digits only once since Week 7. With D'Andre Swift expected to be out, the talent disparity appears too great here. Could it be a rare normal Vikings game?”

Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com: Vikings 24, Lions 22. “The Lions will be rested after playing on Thanksgiving, while the Vikings are playing consecutive road games. Plus, they will almost certainly not have running back Dalvin Cook. The Vikings will find a way to win this game, but the Lions will keep it close, which they've done a bunch this season.”

John Breech of CBSSports.com: Vikings 23, Lions 16.

Will Brinson of CBSSports.com: Vikings 22, Lions 21.  

Jonathan Jones of CBSSports.com: Vikings. 

Jordan Dajani of CBSSports.com: Vikings 23, Lions 20. 

Bill Bender of the Sporting News: Lions 19, Vikings 17. “It's a matchup of two of the league's worst run defenses, but Detroit's DeAndre Swift and Minnesota's Dalvin Cook could both miss because of injuries. The Lions lost a 19-17 heart-breaker in the first meeting. Could this be the time to get that first victory? Flip the score this time.”

Vinnie Iyer of the Sporting News: Vikings 23, Lions 17. “The Vikings seem locked into one-possession games every week and the eight-point margin of defeat in San Francisco was in effect a blowout for them. Minnesota is looking to be without running back Dalvin Cook and its own wiling run defense will give suddenly run-heavy Detroit a chance to stay in another low-scoring game. Kirk Cousins and the Vikings' much more dynamic receiving corps are the difference late.”

Ben Rolfe of Pro Football Network: Vikings 26, Lions 22. “Just like that, the Vikings are back in season-saving mode after their loss to the 49ers. A matchup with the Lions should be just what the doctor ordered. However, while the Lions have gone 0-2-1 in the last three weeks, they have been outscored by a total of just 5 points in that time frame. The Lions almost beat the Vikings in Week 5. Divisional games always find a way of being close. The Dalvin Cook injury should not hurt the Vikings too much, but their inability to get out of their own way could. The Vikings should win, but this one could easily be on upset alert late in the fourth quarter.”

Justin Bales of Pro Football Network: Vikings 27, Lions 17. “The Vikings have quietly covered well on the road, and I anticipate that continuing with a double-digit win against the Lions this weekend.”

Pro Football Talk’s Michael David Smith and Mike Florio: MDS – Vikings 30, Lions 20; Florio – Vikings 31, Lions 17.

Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Vikings 21, 49ers 18.

Don Brennan of the Toronto Sun: Lions 30, Vikings 28.

Ken Schott of The Daily Gazette: Vikings 30. Lions 14.

Philly Voice’s Jimmy Kempski: Vikings.

Josh Schrock of NBC Sports Bay Area: Vikings 24, Lions 20. “How much do the Lions have left after another heartbreaking loss? I think they have enough to put a scare into the Vikings who enjoy playing one-possession games. Minnesota likely will be without Dalvin Cook and the Lions are desperate to get a win on the ledger. Vikings in a nail-biter.”

Joe DiTullio and Cecil J. Walker III of The Game Haus: DiTullio – Vikings; Walker – Vikings.

Ross Jackson and Cameron LaFontaine of Locked On Podcast: Jackson – Vikings 23, Lions 14; LaFontaine – Vikings 27, Lions 16.

Bleacher Report staff: Three of six pick the Vikings. Score prediction: Vikings 27, Lions 20.

All four writers at Athlon Sports think the Vikings will win.

All 11 analysts at ESPN pick the Vikings.

All seven writers at USA Today predict a Vikings victory. 

All five analysts at SI.com are picking the Vikings.

All eight analysts at CBSSports.com take the Vikings to win.

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