Week 17 brings us a matchup between two NFC North teams who underperformed expectations this season and got demolished in Week 16. As our Vikings vs Lions Week 17 betting analysis shows, both teams look to close out their disappointing seasons on a high note. It’ll be an interesting game for online betting.
|Game: Minnesota Vikings (6-9) at Detroit Lions (5-10)
Location: Ford Field
Time: 1:00 PM ET
The Minnesota Vikings won’t be at full strength as Dalvin Cook will sit out due to his father’s passing. Detroit’s best offensive players, in Matthew Stafford and Kenny Golladay, are both questionable for Sunday’s game. It looks like Chase Daniel will start at QB for the Detroit Lions if Stafford can’t suit up, but he’s stated that he wants to play in Week 17.
Vikings vs Lions Week 17 Betting Lines
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The Vikings have completely dominated the all time series, with a record of 77-39-2 and have won six straight dating back to 2017. The Vikings, who were three-point home favorites in an NFL Week 9 matchup, beat the Lions 34-20.
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The Vikings were trounced by the New Orleans Saints 52-33 on Christmas Day. Saints RB Alvin Kamara tied a single-game NFL Record for TDs by a running back with six. He also rushed for a career-high 155 yards in a stunning individual performance. Drew Brees continued to struggle for a second straight week after returning from injury. He did complete 19 of 26 passes but threw two interceptions. The Saints ran for 264 yards as a team and wore down the Vikings with score after score.
While the defense couldn’t manage to get any stops, Minnesota had a decent offensive display. Kirk Cousins has taken some flack this season but completed 27 of his 41 passes for 291 yards and three touchdowns. WR Adam Thielen had a game high 98 receiving yards with a touchdown. Minnesota RB Dalvin Cook added 73 rushing yards and a touchdown.
After the game, Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said the Vikings defense is the worst he’s ever coached. Zimmer probably deserves at least part of the blame, but he might have a point after another disappointing defensive performance from the Vikings. The Saints managed to gain 583 yards and didn’t punt the ball.
Minnesota has one of the best offensive units in the league despite their 6-9 record. They average 4.9 yards per carry, which is fourth best in the league. A big part of that is Dalvin Cook, who has totaled 1557 yards this season and five yards per carry. His absence will significantly impact their run game this weekend. In the only other game he sat out, a Week 6 loss to the Falcons, Minnesota only totaled 32 rushing yards on 13 carries. Alexander Mattison will get the lion’s share of his carries if he clears concussion protocol.
The Vikings allowed 583 yards and 52 points in Week 16 against the Saints. Both of these marks are the most any opponent has compiled against them this season. In their last six games, opponents are scoring 32.2 points per game against them. They’d have the worst scoring defense in the league if those stats held over a full season. In terms of yardage they have the sixth-worst defense in the NFL and have the fifth worst scoring defense.
Out: RB Dalvin Cook, TE Kyle Rudolph, T Riley Reiff
Questionable: RB Alexander Mattison, LB Todd Davis, LB Eric Kendricks, CB Chris Jones, DE Ifeadi Odenigbo, K Dan Bailey
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Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Lions 47-7 to clinch a spot in the playoffs for the first time since 2007. Lions interim head coach Darrell Bevell wasn’t able to coach his team due to being placed in COVID protocol. It was a disastrous day for Detroit who also lost Matthew Stafford to an ankle injury.
It was readily apparent how much the Lions offense depends on Stafford being under center. Backups Chase Daniel and David Blough both got time but both finished with under 100 yards and no passing touchdowns. As the Lions fell behind big early, the run game wasn’t a big factor as the Lions only totaled 75 rushing yards and just 186 total yards. D’Andre Swift led Detroit rushers with 45 yards. The Lions only touchdown came on a punt return.
The defense wasn’t any better. Brady threw four TD passes for the Bucs, completing 22 of 27 passes for 348 yards. Blaine Gabbert also got time at QB and threw two touchdown passes of his own. Gronk and Mike Evans combined for four touchdown catches and Evans had 181 yards on 10 receptions. The Lions were outgained by over 400 yards and fully deserved the 40 point beatdown they took.
Although the Vikings defense has been abysmal in the last half of the season, the title of the NFL’s worst scoring defense actually belongs to the Lions. Matt Patricia’s tenure was disastrous but things have been worse since he was fired. In the four games since Patricia was fired the Lions have allowed a ridiculous 38.5 points per game and have given up 32.1 points per game on the season. Perhaps defense will be at a premium this weekend.
With Stafford and Golladay questionable, the Lions are potentially looking at another rough game on offense. They scored seven points in Week 16 and 13 when Stafford missed a game last season. The Lions have historically fallen apart without their longtime QB. Amazingly, the Lions have only won six of the last fifty games they’ve started without Stafford.
Questionable: QB Matthew Stafford, WR Kenny Golladay, T Tyrell Crosby, C Frank Ragnow, LB Jamie Collins, Sr.
Betting on the Game
Point Spread: Vikings -7
The Vikings are pretty heavy favorites but have failed to cover the spread for six straight games. In fact, the Vikings have been favored in over half of their games but have only managed to compile a 2-6 record against the spread in those. With Dalvin Cook out, their rushing attack might suffer.
The Lions haven’t been great against the spread this season themselves. They’re just 4-7 ATS as underdogs and 2-5 ATS at home. They don’t quite have a six game ATS losing streak like the Vikings do but have only covered twice in their last six games.
Vikings -295 | Lions +240
The Vikings have been favorites in eight games this season but are 4-4 in those games. Minnesota has won six straight games against Detroit and the Lions are just 1-5 in their last six games. If Matthew Stafford plays, like he’s said he’d like to, the line may swing a little bit towards the Lions but not by much given recent history.
Plus, the Lions are an abysmal 1-10 in their last 11 games and just lost by 40. Add that to midseason coaching changes and interim coach Darrell Bevell missing time due to NFL COVID-19 protocol, and the Lions look like a mess.
The high point total doesn’t seem to be based on offensive merits. The Vikings will be missing their best offensive player and Detroit might be without Kenny Golladay and Matthew Stafford. Instead, it reflects the fact that both of these teams have porous scoring defenses. The Vikings are 28th in the league in scoring defense and opponents have scored 28.3 points per game against them. Meanwhile, the Lions are dead last, allowing 32.1 points per game. Detroit has a horrendous -22.7 point per game scoring margin in its last three games while Minnesota’s is -12.3 points per game in the same span. Combined, these teams allowed 99 points in Week 16.
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