Detroit (4-4) at Minnesota (5-2)
When: Sunday, November 6th 2016
Where: U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, MN
Time: 1:00 ET | TV: FOX
The Minnesota Vikings will look to get back in the win column when they host the Detroit Lions in a Week 9 matchup of NFC North rivals. Minnesota was the only undefeated team in the league after five weeks, but have some back from their by week to lose two straight, scoring only 10 points in each game. Both of those contests came on the road in Philadelphia and Chicago, but they’ll be back home where QB Sam Bradford has five touchdowns to zero interceptions this season. Offensive coordinator Norv Turner abruptly resigned this past week and Pat Shurmur , who coached Bradford in Philadelphia and St. Louis, will take over those duties. The offensive line is an issue as Bradford has been sacked 11 times in the last two games and the running game is ranked 31st in the league. The defense continues to carry this team with the top scoring average in the league at 14.9 points a game and second overall in yards allowed per contest (297.1). The Vikings will alternate home and away games the rest of the season with a trip to Washington up next.
The Lions got back into the NFC North race with three straight wins – all at home by a combined seven points – but lost at Houston last week 20-13. Quarterback Matthew Stafford has played well over the last four weeks with nine touchdowns and zero interceptions and owns a career-high 103.4 passing rating at the moment. Stafford was sacked seven times in the last meeting by Minnesota, which swept the season series a year ago. Detroit’s defense suffered a big blow as pass-rushing outside linebacker Armonty Bryant received a three-game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Bryant sat out the first four games of the season for a similar violation and was subsequently waived by Cleveland before he was picked up by Detroit. Bryant has been productive in his brief stint with the Lions, recording three sacks in four games after collecting 5.5 in 14 games with the Browns last season. The Lions are allowing 23.8 points a game – 21st in the NFL.
Minnesota is a much better team than they’ve showed the last two weeks and getting the Lions at home is just what they need. Stafford and the Lions are terrible on the road against good teams especially good defensive teams like Minnesota. I expect Bradford to have one of his best games of the year and for the Minnesota defense to create some turnovers. The Vikings win this one easily.
Pick: Vikings -6.5