The Minnesota Vikings are looking to rebound from a tough loss Monday night. The Detroit Lions usually have been a good tonic for what ails teams.
This year might be a little different (insert your own biting kneecaps joke here).
After two games, the Lions were tied for second in points with 71 – scoring 35 in a loss to Philadelphia and 36 in a win over Washington. Of course, Detroit also gave up the third-most points.
Maybe it’s a shootout at U.S. Bank Stadium. Does that favor Jared Goff and Amon-Ra St. Brown or Kirk Cousins and Justin Jefferson?
Whichever team wins it will own at least a share of the NFC North lead – and the Vikings would be 2-0 in the division.
Minnesota is listed as a six-point favorite. Will the Vikings dust the Lions or will Minnesota and Cousins be stymied by an aggressive Lions defense?
Here’s this week’s predictions from around the web:
Rob Maaddi of the Associated Press: Vikings 27, Lions 24. “Jared Goff has Detroit’s offense soaring. The Vikings are coming off a short week following a beatdown in Philadelphia on Monday night. Kirk Cousins should have an easier time finding Justin Jefferson this time around.”
Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times: Vikings 28, Lions 24. “The Vikings looked so good coming out of Week 1, and then they were shut down by Philadelphia. Detroit plays hard and doesn't give up on Dan Campbell. Still, Detroit isn't quite at Minnesota's level.”
NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal: Lions 33, Vikings 30. “Less than one week after getting steamrolled by one of football’s most physical offensive lines, the Vikings’ defense faces another. In this seesaw early portion of the season, I tend to pick according to which units are most consistent. The Lions’ offense is that group. Amon-Ra St. Brown and D’Andre Swift are making the jump from good to special, and I trust Detroit's staff to give its squad a slight edge.”
The Miami Herald’s Greg Cote: Vikings 31, Lions 24. “Detroit is 0-9-1 in its past 10 on the road, but once-woeful Lions show signs of improvement, especially with the ball. Defense is another matter. Kirk Cousins is better when the prime-time lights aren’t, and this is the game the Purples get Dalvin Cook going.”
Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com: Vikings 31, Lions 23. “The Vikings were awful in losing to the Eagles on Monday night. The plan was bad on both sides of the ball. But they will get back on track here. The Lions have played well so far this season, especially on offense, but this is their first road game. The Minnesota offense will play well since it's not a Monday night game, which happen to cripple Kirk Cousins. The Vikings take it.”
Will Brinson of CBSSports.com: Lions 35, Vikings 31.
John Breech of CBSSports.com: Vikings 27, Lions 24.
Tyler Sullivan of CBSSports.com: Vikings 30, Lions 27.
Jordan Dajani of CBSSports.com: Vikings 33, Lions 30.
Bill Bender of the Sporting News: Vikings 30, Lions 23. “The Lions are an early-season feel-good team with the additions made with second-year coach Dan Campbell. They've scored 35.5 points per game, and Jared Goff is off to a great start with playmakers DeAndre Swift and Amon-Ra St. Brown. These teams split last year's meetings, and each game was decided by two points. We're still not sold on Detroit's defense, and the Kirk Cousins-Justin Jefferson continues in a fun NFC North matchup.”
Vinnie Iyer of the Sporting News: Vikings 34, Lions 17 (labeled his “lock of the week”). “The Vikings' defense is much improved with a 3-4 scheme anchored by a good edge pass rush again. They also should be able to move the ball downfield with Justin Jefferson and run for chunks with Dalvin Cook at home vs. an overmatched Detroit defense. Minnesota will rattle Jared Goff plenty while Kirk Cousins gets settled to thoroughly outplay him.”
Carmen Vitali of FOXSports.com: Vikings 32, Lions 30. “Fireworks! Both teams have come a long way from their conservative offensive reputations. They have plenty of weapons and trust them in nearly every situation. Detroit keeps this far more competitive than most would have expected before Hard Knocks began, but nevertheless…”
Jim Derry of Nola.com: Vikings 28, Lions 17. “In one of the overreactions of the week, we’ll go against one of America’s new favorite teams. (Oh, and it doesn’t hurt that Kirk Cousins isn’t playing in prime time, where he has been God awful throughout his career. Please remind me of that next time they play on a Sunday or Monday night.)”
Pro Football Talk’s Michael David Smith and Mike Florio: MDS – Vikings 35, Lions 31; Florio – Vikings 27, Lions 24.
Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Lions 36, Vikings 34.
Don Brennan of the Toronto Sun: Vikings 30, Lions 27.
Philly Voice’s Jimmy Kempski: Vikings.
Ken Schott of The Daily Gazette: Vikings 27, Lions 24.
David Fucillo of Draft Kings: Vikings (medium confidence).
Bleacher Report staff has an average score prediction of Vikings 33, Lions 30.
ESPN’s Eric Moody and Seth Walder: Moody – Vikings 34, Lions 20; Walder – Lions 30, Vikings 27.
Three of five analysts at SI.com are picking the Eagles.
Two of four writers at Athlon Sports think the Vikings will win.
Two of three over at For the Win are going with the Vikings.
Six of seven writers at USA Today predict a Vikings victory.
Six of eight analysts at CBSSports.com take the Vikings to win.
Just four of 11 SB Nation writers pick the Vikings.
Eight of nine analysts at ESPN pick the Vikings (no pick from Damien Woody as of this writing).