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Bold prediction of the week: Is the Lions Thanksgiving special coming early?

With a banged up Vikings defense and more targets to go around, can Marvin Jones top his 2017 Thanksgiving spectacle?

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

You win some, you lose some. After nailing Kerryon Johnson’s big day against the Dolphins, last week’s game turned out to be the polar opposite of what was predicted. To be fair, the idea of going up early and making the other team play catch-up through the air was correct, but unfortunately Seattle did it to Detroit instead of the other way around. This week we’re zooming in on one player again as he’s in great position to have a monster day, even against a stout Vikings defense.

Bold prediction of the week: Marvin Jones Jr. tops his 2017 Thanksgiving performance of 109 yards, 2 TDs

Let’s start with the obvious: Golden Tate is gone, and that’s a lot of targets to go around the rest of the offense. While many eyes are on Kenny Golladay to pick up the slack, many are forgetting that Marvin Jones has had a slow start to the year and could be a significant beneficiary too.

Minnesota Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes is the man the Vikings turn to to shut down half the field. Rhodes has had a rough start to the year however, currently ranked as the league’s 59th best corner according to PFF. On top of that, he has been hampered by a foot injury that he calls “day-to-day.”

When the Lions play the Vikings, Rhodes usually shadows Jones. The idea is for Rhodes to shut him down, but that’s not exactly what happened on primetime TV last Thanksgiving. With Rhodes taking things day-by-day, Marvin Jones is in good position to put on a show against Rhodes.

The little things are also going in Jones’ favor heading into this game: Vikings safety Andrew Sendejo is questionable to play with a groin injury and star linebacker Anthony Barr has already been ruled out with a hamstring injury. With Barr out, that could open things up in the middle of the field and force the safeties to play down, opening things up over the top for Jones. As for Sendejo, anyone who has ever pulled a groin knows it’s near impossible to move laterally at an effective speed in that condition, let alone against world-class athletes.

To be fair, nothing will come to fruition if Matthew Stafford doesn’t have time to let routes develop when he throws the ball. The Vikings still have a menacing defense and head coach Mike Zimmer can get creative when it comes to bringing pressure. There’s also the return of Everson Griffen, who rejoined the Vikings last week and has historically caused a lot of problems for Stafford.

If the offensive line can keep things calm in the backfield, expect a big day from Jones and the rest of the receiving corps.

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