Vikings Can Clinch Nfc North With Win Or Tie Against Lions

Jacksonville Jaguars safety Rayshawn Jenkins (2) pushes Detroit Lions tight end Shane Zylstra (84) out of bounds during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)
Jacksonville Jaguars safety Rayshawn Jenkins (2) pushes Detroit Lions tight end Shane Zylstra (84) out of bounds during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 4, 2022, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)
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Sunday, 1 p.m. EST, FOX


AGAINST THE SPREAD: Vikings 6-5-1; Lions 8-3-1

SERIES RECORD: Lions lead 80-40-2

LAST MEETING: Vikings beat Lions 28-24 on Sept. 25, in Minneapolis.

LAST WEEK: Vikings beat Jets 27-22; Lions beat Jaguars 40-14.





TURNOVER DIFFERENTIAL: Vikings plus-8; Lions plus-1.

VIKINGS PLAYER TO WATCH: QB Kirk Cousins. In four starts for the Vikings at Ford Field against his home-state Lions, Cousins has completed 73% of his passes for 1,336 yards, 12 TDs and no INTs for a 129.9 passer rating. The former Michigan State and Holland Christian High School star has a chance to win more than 10 regular-season games for the first time in eight years as a full-time starter.

LIONS PLAYER TO WATCH: QB Jared Goff. He completed a season-high 31 passes for 340 yards and 2 TDs without an INT in a win over Jacksonville. He has thrown at least one TD pass in 11 straight home games, the third-longest active streak in the league. Detroit acquired him in the Matthew Stafford trade from the Los Angeles Rams, who will give up a second first-round pick in 2023 as part of the blockbuster deal.

KEY MATCHUP: Vikings WR Justin Jefferson vs. Lions CB Jeff Okudah. Keeping Jefferson out of the highlight reel is always a team effort, but Okudah played a big part in limiting Jefferson to a career-low 14 yards on three receptions in the first meeting in Week 3.

KEY INJURIES: Vikings CB Akayleb Evans (concussion) is out, but CB Cameron Dantzler Sr. (ankle) is on track to return to the starting spot that Evans and two others filled during his four-game absence. ... LT Christian Darrisaw (concussion) has missed the past two games. He has been progressing through the protocol and took part in practice on Wednesday on a limited basis. ... Five Vikings were held out of practice on Wednesday with an unspecified illness, including OLB Danielle Hunter, CB Patrick Peterson and S Harrison Smith. ... Lions are hopeful DE Romeo Okwara (Achilles tendon) plays for the first time in 15 months.

SERIES HISTORY: The Vikings have won nine of the past 10 matchups. The lone loss in that stretch was at Detroit in Week 13 last year when Goff’s 11-yard TD pass to Amon-Ra St. Brown on the last play of the game gave the Lions a 29-27 victory — their first under Dan Campbell. ... Cousins hit K.J. Osborn for a 28-yard TD pass with 45 seconds left to give the Vikings the lead in their win over Detroit at home earlier this season. Campbell made a cautious call to try a 54-yard field goal that was missed with 1:14 left and the Lions leading by three points and the Vikings out of timeouts. ... Minnesota TE T.J. Hockenson caught a TD pass for Detroit in the previous meeting. He was traded to the Vikings at the deadline and has 30 catches for 225 yards and one TD in five games.

STATS AND STUFF: Minnesota clinches the NFC North title with a win or a tie at Detroit. ... The Vikings have at least 10 wins through 12 games for the ninth time in the franchise’s 62 seasons, and first time since 2017 when they last won the division. ... Jefferson has seven-plus catches and a TD in four of his past five games. ... Harrison Smith leads all active NFL defensive backs with 34 interceptions. ... Ryan Wright has 28 punts inside the 20-yard line for the Vikings and is the only punter in the NFL this season without a touchback. ... The Lions have won four of five after a 1-6 start. ... RB Jamaal Williams leads NFL with 14 rushing TDs, surpassing his total from the first five years of his career. ... St. Brown had a career-high 11 catches, 114 yards and 2 TDs against the Jaguars. ... DE Aidan Hutchinson leads NFL rookies with six sacks. ... K Michael Badgley was 4 of 4 on field goals and 4 of 4 on extra points in the win over Jacksonville.

FANTASY TIP: Hockenson may be motivated to show his former team what it is missing and Detroit's defense, which gives up the most points and yards in the league, may not be able to do much about it.


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