By Joseph Gunther
The Minnesota Vikings have a slim one-shot scenario to make the playoffs. In order to make it happen they must win-out and get help. It starts this week with a trip to Ford Field to take on the Detroit Lions.
The Vikings (6-7) are coming off an overtime victory over the New York Jets at TCF Bank Stadium. The Lions (9-4) defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at home on Sunday.
The Lions are currently one game behind the Green Bay Packers for the NFC North Division lead. They are 6-1 at home this season with wins over the New York Giants, Packers, New Orleans Saints, Miami Dolphins, Chicago Bears and Buccaneers.
Lions on Offense
The Lions are ninth in passing yards with 265.1 yards per game, but rank 29th in the league with 84.1 yards per game. Their offense centers around quarterback Matthew Stafford and wide receiver Calvin Johnson. Their running back position has been inconsistent due to injuries. Joique Bell is the workhorse, but he, along with Reggie Bush and Theo Riddick, have been hurt this season.
When the Lions came to Minneapolis to fave the Vikings in Week 6, they were without Johnson and Bush. Bell and Riddick were banged up as well. The Lions did not have their full complement of weapons. The Lions managed just 255 total yards of offense, including 155 passing yards.
Lions on Defense
The strength of the Lions defense is up front. Their defensive line is as good as anyone’s in the league. The Lions are first in the league in rushing yards allowed and 10th in passing yards allowed.
The Lions front seven completely dominated the Vikings in their Week 6 matchup. The Vikings finished the game with 212 total yards, including 69 on the ground, and were sacked eight times. In total the Lions had 10 tackles for a loss and had 13 hits on Teddy Bridgewater. Ezekiel Ansah led the way with 2.5 sacks, three tackles for a loss and three hits on the quarterback. Ndamukong Suh added two sacks and three tackles for a loss. Former Viking defensive end George Johnson added 1.5 sacks and two tackles for a loss.
The Lions are in the thick of the playoff race and the Vikings are a game away from being officially eliminated from the playoff picture. The Vikings need a lot of things to go right; 1) they have to win all three remaining games; 2) the Seattle Seahawks and either the Philadelphia Eagles or Dallas Cowboys lose all three of their remaining games; 3) the St. Louis Rams must win all three of their remaining games 4) the San Francisco 49ers must lose one more game 5) the Packers and Lions must win 10 or more games.
The Vikings have just two wins away TCF Bank Stadium this season and will play two of their final three on the road — at Detroit and Miami. The Vikings are likely going to win one (at home against the Bears) of their final three games.
For more Vikings news and updates, visit Vikings Central.
Joseph Gunther is an avid fan of Minnesota sports, including football, hockey and baseball. He covered a wide variety of sports while attending Hastings College in Hastings, Neb. While at Hastings College, he was a part of the first collegiate media group to broadcast a national tournament via television, radio, internet and newspaper at the 2004 NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball Tournament. He grew up in the Twin Cities playing three years of varsity football in high school. Joseph is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.