Lions Have the Almighty Opportunity vs. Vikings

Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports.

This is what they’ve been waiting for.

From the moment the Detroit Lions prevented the Green Bay Packers from reaching the postseason in 2022, a marvelous win at Lambeau Field about one year ago, widespread momentum suggested Dan Campbell’s team would seize the NFC North and not let go.

Lions Have the Almighty Opportunity vs. Vikings

The time is now to actually do that — at U.S. Bank Stadium on Christmas Eve.

Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings host those very Lions this Sunday as home underdogs of 3.5 points. If Detroit triumphs, it’ll win its first division title in three decades. A win, and they’re in, plus an NFC North chip. After that, the Lions will hope to win their first playoff game in 32 years or since George H.W. Bush’s presidency.

Interestingly, the Lions may ascertain that playoff assignment against the Vikings in the Wildcard Round, but that remains to be seen. Should Detroit win the NFC North, it would likely play the Vikings, Packers, Seahawks, or Rams in Round 1. Stay tuned.

Lions Have the Almighty
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

But this is it for Detroit — the first attempt at offseason hype fruition. All spring and summer, NFL analysts forecasted an NFC North title for Jared Goff and the gang. Roles reversed, and the Vikings were considered the kid brothers. The Packers, too.

Of course, if the Vikings take care of business at home, the Lions will have two more opportunities to win the division. In Week 17, they’ll play the Dallas Cowboys in Texas while hoping for a Vikings loss at home to the Packers. After that, the Lions host the Vikings at Ford Field to end the regular season.

New Big Bad Wolf
Daniel Bartel-USA TODAY Sports.

They won’t have to worry about any collapse-related malarkey, though, if they snuff out the Vikings on the road on Christmas Eve. Minnesota is banged up on the injury report, monitoring the statuses of Brian O’Neill, Byron Murphy, Alexander Mattison, Harrison Phillips, and Danielle Hunter. among others. The Vikings will likely be shorthanded — on top of shorthanded sans Kirk Cousins.

Detroit’s defense has floundered as of late. It will have to figure that football facet out soon or risk annihilation by a really good team in the postseason. Since Week 9, the Lions’ defense ranks 26th leaguewide per EPA/Play. The offense ranks third in the same span per the EPA/Play metric.

Vikings Have the Perfect QB for Their Offense
Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

Meanwhile, the Vikings’ offense hit a groove at the Cincinnati Bengals last weekend, as Nick Mullens unlocked Minnesota’s playmakers for the first time in a month. Detroit’s defense will be tested.

A win by the Vikings will complicate and excite the quest for the NFC North. For the Lions, however, this is the almighty opportunity to effectuate 11 months of razzmatazz about their trajectory.


Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.

Share: