Week 10: Minnesota Vikings Vs. Detroit Lions

Jacksonville Jaguars v Minnesota Vikings
Detroit Lions v Oakland Raiders
Christian Ponder is a liability for the Vikings. Early in the season, the Vikings were winning games because of their running game, defense and special teams. Ponder never made a serious contribution and he is struggling badly at this point in the year. He is not throwing the ball with authority and he can’t go downfield with any consistency.
Winner The Lions are starting to hit their stride and that means Matthew Stafford is performing better. Stafford was calm and in control as the Lions went down to Jacksonville in Week Nine and took care of business by dispatching the Jaguars. Stafford completed 22-of-33 passes for 285 yards and that’s a good jumping off point for the second half of the season.
Winner The Vikings have a superior weapon in Adrian Peterson and he was at his best against the Seahawks. He ran with power and explosiveness and he totaled 182 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries. The Vikings want to get more from Percy Harvin, but that requires a quarterback who can get the ball downfield with consistency.
Calvin Johnson is coming off his best game of the year. He caught seven passes for 129 yards against the Jaguars and when he is on his game, he becomes the top priority for opposing defenses. That opened things up for the running game. Mike Leshoure and Joique Bell combined for 143 yards and four TDs, and that’s quite formidable.
The Vikings are starting to struggle on the defensive end. They made Seattle rookie quarterback Russell Wilson look like he should be an awards candidate. He’s not quite that good. The Vikings have shown cracks on the defensive end. The pass defense is vulnerable and Marshawn Lynch overpowered the run defense. The Vikings need Chad Greenway and Jared Allen to dominate.
Winner The Lions want to punish opponents with their hard-hitting style. They played with some much-needed discipline (only five penalties) against the Jaguars as the Lions stayed in their lanes and made plays. Outside linebacker Justin Durant had a team-high seven tackles and was quite reliable. Middle linebacker Stephen Tulloch is reliable.
Special Teams
Winner Since the Vikings are struggling so badly in the passing game, they need a huge victory by special teams in order to have a chance. Placekicker Blair Walsh and punter Chris Kluwe form a solid combination. Harvin should be a big factor on kickoff returns once again and so should Marcus Sherels on punt returns.
The Lions bottomed out in the first meeting against the Vikings when they gave up both a punt and a kickoff return for touchdowns. They are not much better at this point, but head coach Jim Schwartz has to get a better performance. Jason Hanson is a reliable placekicker, but he does not have the strongest leg at this point in his career.

We'll Just Call it a Tie

Jacksonville Jaguars v Minnesota Vikings Detroit Lions v Oakland Raiders

The Vikings are going in the wrong direction after an excellent start. They victimized the Lions in Week Four and they may get a large dose of payback in this game unless they can repeat the miraculous special teams play. The Lions have been starting to turn things around after a slow start.


  1. MINNEAPOLIS, MN - OCTOBER 9: Quarterback Brock Osweiler #17 of the Houston Texans drops back to pass during the first quarter of the game on October 9, 2016 at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) SAN DIEGO, CA - OCTOBER 13:  Trevor Siemian #13 of the Denver Broncos warms up before the game against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on October 13, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
    Week 7 Tale Of The Tape: Houston Texans At Denver Broncos

    The Broncos square off against their former QB as they welcome in Brock Osweiler and the Texans.

  2. SEATTLE, WA - OCTOBER 16:  Quarterback Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks passes against the Atlanta Falcons at CenturyLink Field on October 16, 2016 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images) GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 17:  Quarterback Carson Palmer #3 of the Arizona Cardinals looks to make a pass against the New York Jets in the first half of the NFL game at University of Phoenix Stadium on October 17, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
    Week 7 Tale Of The Tape: Seattle Seahawks At Arizona Cardinals

    The Seahawks face their NFC West foe on the road as the Cardinals look to get above .500 for the first time this season.

  3. FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 16:  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots prepares to receive a snap during the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Gillette Stadium on October 16, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images) PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 25:  Quarterback  Landry Jones #3 of the Pittsburgh Steelers throws a pass during warm ups before playing against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on September 25, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
    Week 7 Tale Of The Tape: New England Patriots At Pittsburgh Steelers

    The Patriots are riding high and now face a Steelers team who will be without their starting QB.

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