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Vikings vs. Lions ATS Picks

NFL Week 12 Prediction

The Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers figured to have a say as to how the NFC North would shape up at the outset of the season. The Detroit Lions certainly did not. Even with that the case, bragging rights for top honors within the division will be on the line when the division rivals kick off Week 12 in the first of three Thanksgiving Day games in the Motor City.

Minnesota Vikings vs. Detroit Lions
Date and Time: Thursday, November 24, 2016, 12:30 p.m. ET
Location: Ford Field, Detroit, MI
Week 12 NFL Odds at Lions -3, 42.5
Vikings vs. Lions TV Coverage: CBS

The Vikings were finally able to stop the bleeding last week at home where they scored the 30-24 home win and cover against an also struggling Arizona Cardinals outfit. While the offense was once again wretched with Sam Bradford throwing for just 169 yards and one touchdown and the ground game gaining next to nothing, special teams and solid defensive play helped lead the Vikes to their first victory since Week 5.

That is the “MO” of the 2016-17 Minnesota Vikings. The special teams must either set the offense up with great field position or directly puts points on the board. The defense has to shut the opposition down, force turnovers or score points themselves. The offense averages just over 20 points per game (No. 22) and racks up a league-worst 293.8 yards per game, but due to excelled special teams and defensive play, the unit still owns a 14.3 offensive yards per point average. Tied with New England for the seventh best mark in the league.

There’s absolutely nothing on paper that paints the Detroit Lions out as a division leader. Matthew Stafford has gotten next to nothing from his ground attack all season long. It’s averaging just under 80 yards per game (No. 30), and hasn’t had a 100 yard rusher all season long. Theo Riddick and Dwayne Washington combined for just 19 yards on 17 carries against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Still, Detroit has scored an average of 23.1 points per game due to the special teams setting the offense up with great field position or directly putting points on the board. The Lions first points in last week’s game occurred on a punt return for a score. Detroit is averaging 0.3 non-offensive touchdowns per game, and that’s gone a long way in allowing Jim Caldwell’s squad to sit perched atop the NFC North standings.

Last Meeting

These teams already hooked up this season back in Week 9 at Minnesota where the Lions scored the 22-16 outright win in overtime as 4.5 point underdogs. Minnesota outgained Detroit by 26 yards and even one the turnover battle 1:0, but the defense failed to hold onto a three point lead at the end of regulation. It was also unable to prevent Stafford and company from going right down the field in their opening possession of the extra session and punching the ball in the end zone.

Minnesota was dealing with the surprising resignation of Norv Turner and had numerous bodies on both sides of the ball out of the game. The win moved the Lions to 3-2 SU and 2-3 ATS in these teams last five meetings with the under cashing in four of those contests.

Vikings vs. Lions Free Picks

The madness has to stop! Detroit isn’t worthy of being a division leader. While Minnesota isn’t leaps and bounds better than the Lions, it is better and will have a full deck to play with this time around as it looks to avenge that overtime defeat and reclaim its dominance of the division.

The Vikings once again looked like they were having fun in last week’s game against the Cardinals. Look for the defense to set the tone in this one and limit the Lions offense to yet another poor showing. The Lions have failed to cover the NFL odds at four of the last five times they hosted this NFC North rivalry, and I foresee that once again being the case in this Turkey Day opener.

Vikings vs. Lions ATS Pick: Vikings +3 at
Vikings vs. Lions Score Prediction: Vikings 24 – Lions 17