The Minnesota Vikings took a tough loss this last Monday. The Seattle Seahawks are a hard team to beat while playing in the Emerald City, sure, and there are some silver linings (if you’re into that sort of thing) as the Vikings were still within four-points late in a game that featured one of the worst quarters of football in team history. Considering that the ‘Hawks are considered to be the class of the NFC, that’s something to build on, right?
Either way; the Vikings now have a chance to bounce back at home, where they are undefeated, against the three-win Detroit Lions and their undrafted free agent rookie quarterback. That all points to the fact that the Vikings should easily dispatch these Lions, and it’s something that the betting community agrees on as well, as the NFL odds say the Vikings should win by 13 against Matt Patricia’s men.
Some Significant Stats to Know
The Vikings have bounced back well after disappointing losses this season, in general as well as in terms of what matters most to those reading this article, covering the spread. The Vikings are 100% against the spread this season a game after a loss, and over the last two seasons they’ve covered 88.9% of the time. Add that to the fact that the Vikes are double-digit favorites tomorrow, and it’s not hard to get a tad bit confident.
Still not convinced?
Since last season, the Vikes are 63.6% against the spread as a home favorite. Beyond that, since 2018, the Vikings have a 10-2 record as home favorites, which means they win at a clip of 83.3 percent in this situation. The Lions, on the other hand, are only 25 percent on the road as underdogs. After a loss, Detroit is a woeful 14.3 percent this year. And when you combine last seasons numbers as well, they are just 2-8 straight up as road dogs.
In short, the trends don’t look so good for the Detroit Lions this weekend.
With that in mind, let’s look at the actual statistical matchup between these two historic NFC North squads.
Surprisingly, when you look at overall offensive production, the Vikings and Lions aren’t that far apart.The Vikings score almost 27 points a game, compared to the Lions with 23 (and some change). However, when you start to look at the offensive output of these teams on the road vs. at home, you start to see a split.
The Vikes increase their average to 29.2 points per game when playing at US Bank Stadium, where as the Lions score 21.5 points when playing on the road. That’s not all, though, as the Vikings’ defense gives up six LESS points per game than the Lions. On the road? The Lions defense gives up 24 points per game, as opposed to the Vikings’ D, which gives up 15.6 at home (the second best mark in the league).
So if we do a bit of calculus on the fly, after cleaning up the nosebleed(s) that comes along with doing math (that happens to you guys, too, right?!?), the Lions defense is going to allow a tad bit more than the Vikings typically score at home. Using an equation I wrote down in said nosebleed blood, that means the Vikings should put up 35 or more points Sunday.
Now, the Lions (who average 21 on the road), will be hitting the second-best home defense in the league, adjusting for the impact that comes from playing a division rival, and the fact that the Lions are not that terrible on the road (at 18th in the league)– I could see them putting up 13 points on offense.
By that logic, I could see the Vikings winning this game 31-13. A nice numeric palendrome.
Not only do I think, clearly, that the Vikings WILL do that, I more specifically believe that they NEED to do that.
It’s not breaking news for me to point out that the Vikings need this game more than the Lions do (although, one could argue Lions head coach Matt Patricia needs this game). While the Vikings have a clear road to the playoffs, falling to 8-4 means that they’re only a game ahead of the LA Rams, and also not as far ahead of the Chicago Bears as they appeared a week or two ago.
Outside of their record, this team needs to bounce back from Monday Night on defense, specifically in the secondary. Veteran Vikings corner Xavier Rhodes had the worst night of his career, which is saying something considering how he’s played this season. The highly touted Vikings rush defense also was carved up like a Thanksgiving turkey, allowing nearly 220 yards on the ground against Seattle. So, not only do the Vikings need to win for the sake of the playoffs (and perhaps the division, should the Bears best Green Bay next Sunday), they need to win in convincing enough fashion to show that they’re primed to make a deep playoff run.
That starts with the Lions.
Considering that the Lions have only covered the point spread once in their last seven games (in any situation) … and 1-4 ATS against the Vikings specifically – over the last couple of seasons– we can feel pretty confident that the Vikings will not only win but do so handily and cover the point spread as well. Cause lord knows they/I need it.