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The Cheat Sheet: Without key starters, Lions will struggle against Vikings

Detroit Lions vs. Minnesota Vikings game preview and prediction.

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Detroit Lions v Jacksonville Jaguars Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images

Sunday could be the battle for the NFC North basement when the Lions travel to Minnesota to take on the Vikings.

And the Lions will probably show up on the losing end of that.

Here’s where we’re at:

On Sunday, the Lions will be without…

  • Their best defensive lineman (Trey Flowers)
  • Their best receiver (Kenny Golladay)
  • And... their starting quarterback?

At the time of writing this, Matthew Stafford’s status for Sunday is up in the air. The Lions’ quarterback was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list Wednesday afternoon.

If Stafford does in fact miss Sunday’s game he could join a slew of other starters as well.

That does not bode well for a team that struggled to get anything going against the Colts last week. The Vikings are coming off a great win against the Packers and could be on track to bury the Lions at the bottom of the division.

Minnesota Vikings v Green Bay Packers Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Opponent snapshot

The Vikings, like the Lions, are squarely stuck in no man’s land. They aren’t bad enough to to be considered part of the NFL bottom-dwellers. But they also aren’t good enough to make any real push in 2020.

They have some very good things going for them (mainly Dalvin Cook) and some bad things (an underperforming defense and mediocre quarterback).

The Vikings aren’t the same team they’ve been the last few years, but they may be better than their 2-5 record shows.

Minnesota Vikings v Green Bay Packers Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Vikings’ biggest threat

Dalvin Cook

Cook had been sidelined with an injury prior to Week 8, but then he came back with a bang. Against the Packers, Cook rushed 30 times for 163 yards and three touchdowns.

He also had two catches for 63 yards and a touchdown.

Despite missing a game with a groin injury, he’s still second in the NFL with 652 yards – only behind Derrick Henry – and first in rushing touchdowns with ten.

Atlanta Falcons v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Vikings’ weak link

Cornerback

The Vikings hoped to get better by subtractions after getting rid of Xavier Rhodes, but their plan may have backfired.

The Vikings are basically been starting over this season at cornerback. And they’re toward the bottom of the NFL in nearly every pass defense category.

Meanwhile, Rhodes is having his best season in years.

Bottom line

If the Lions are forced to play against the Vikings with Chase Daniel at the helm it could spell disaster. So, get your weekend plans in order because watching a Lions victory probably won’t end up on your list.

Prediction

Lions 13 Vikings 24