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Bold prediction of the week: Lions defense steps up to play spoiler

The Minnesota Vikings put up 41 points a week after firing their offensive coordinator. Can the Lions D stop the offense’s magic?

NFL: Detroit Lions at Arizona Cardinals Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Lions are out of the playoffs and less than two weeks away from the offseason. In the meantime, however, the Lions get the chance to play spoiler on Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings, who come to town bearing a 7-6-1 record and are currently the sixth seed in the NFC playoff picture. For the Lions to play spoiler, however, they’ll need to step up their game. Last week, they lost to a young and error-prone Buffalo Bills team. The Vikings are a lot more poised, and with some new life being breathed into their offense by an offensive coordinator switch, it won’t be easy.

Bold prediction of the week: Lions secondary holds Vikings to under 200 yards passing as defense plays spoiler

This may not seem all that bold, as Kirk Cousins’ last three games have featured him passing for 215, 208, and 201 yards. The caveat here is the Lions playing spoiler—if the Vikings are playing from behind late in the game, it’ll be on the Lions secondary to shut down the passing game and thus quiet any comeback attempt. To do so, however, is much easier said than done.

Last time the two teams played, the matchup wasn’t as you’d expect. Darius Slay shadowed the speedy Aldrick Robinson, while Nevin Lawson blanketed Adam Thielen throughout the game. If those matchups hold true today, then that leaves the Vikings’ second star receiver Stefon Diggs to be covered by... undrafted rookie Mike Ford.

Ford has been streaky, although decent for an undrafted rookie corner, as Chris Prefett and I talked about in this week’s PODcast. After a rough outing in Buffalo last week, this week’s bold prediction is contingent on us seeing good Mike Ford.

At the end of the day, it’ll be a tall order for the Lions. They don’t have much to play for, and the defense doesn’t have much tape on the new Vikings offense considering it has only been a week. There could be new wrinkles to come and things the Lions may not anticipate. They’ll need to use their athleticism as much as they can and play smart if they want a chance to play spoiler on Sunday.

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After winning their first NFC North title in 30 years, the Lions have unfinished business this offseason. Stay updated with Jeremy Reisman through Pride of Detroit Direct, our newsletter offering up exclusive analysis. Sign up with NFCNORTH30 to get 30% off after your free trial.