The Detroit Lions are on the road in Week 16, taking on division rival Minnesota Vikings, with a chance to leave the Twin Cities as the NFC North Champions.
Currently, the folks over at DraftKings have set the Week 16 opening betting line as Lions -3.5 points. The moneyline settles in at Lions -185, while the Vikings are at +154, with the over/under line set at 47 points.
While the Lions' 42-17 dismantling of the Denver Broncos got them out of their mid-season rut, the Vikings have been riding a rollercoaster of season all year long.
The Vikings started the season 1-4, but they eventually found their groove, winning three straight to get back to .500 by Week 8. Unfortunately, that same week, starting quarterback Kirk Cousins tore his Achilles and was lost for the season.
The Vikings quickly acquired Josh Dobbs ahead of the trade deadline, and he would lead Minnesota to two more victories and a 6-4 record by Week 10. But Dobbs’ magic would soon run out, losing the next two games and entering their bye week at 6-6. Coming out of their bye, Dobbs continued to struggle and was benched in favor of Nick Mullins, who led the Vikings to an ugly 3-0 victory over the Raiders.
Last week, Minnesota elected to stick with their change at quarterback, demoting Dobbs down to QB3 and handing the starting reins to Mullins. In his first start, Mullins helped the Vikings jump out to a 17-3 lead over the Bengals entering the fourth quarter, only to see Jake Browning and Cincinnati mount a comeback, eventually winning in overtime.
The Vikings have a tremendous defense—top-six in DVOA entering last week's game—that is creatively run by defensive guru Brian Flores. Flores’ ability to combine max-coverage and near-insane levels of blitzing is unlike any other team and can cause an offense problems. But the Vikings' offense has been inconsistent, problematic, and unreliable all season, which is a big reason the team has a 7-7 record, instead of the 13-win team we saw in 2022.
The Vikings will be fighting for their division lives for the rest of the season, but will that be enough for a revitalized Lions team that can taste the division championship, which would end a 30-year drought?
We’ll find out on Sunday.