Although the Lions have won three straight against the Vikings, including a 14-7 road win this season, CBSSports.com senior National Football League writer Pete Prisco believes the Detroit's winning streak over Minnesota is going to come to an end on Turkey Day.
Detroit's lacklustre pass rush should help create opportunities for Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen deep downfield but the player most likely to benefit may be Kyle Rudolph.
If the Lions have one advantage going into Thursday, it might be a mental one. One story line to keep an eye on is at quarterback for the Vikings.
Reiff's presence as the bulwark protector of Case Keenum's blind side has set the tone for this vast improvement by the group, with rookie center Pat Elflein also manning a key role and the 13-year veteran Berger playing as well as ever. This is especially true this year as we look ahead to a very important matchup between our beloved Detroit Lions and their division rival, the Minnesota Vikings.
A Vikings win would give them a three game lead with only five games remaining, while a Lions victory would tighten the race.
Minnesota (7-2): See above for the implications against the Lions.
Thanksgiving NFL game schedule: What NFL teams are playing this Thanksgiving?
Keenum has taken only one sack in the past 5 games since Lions defensive end Anthony Zettel took him down behind the line of scrimmage twice in the game at Minnesota. Chicago had a chance to send it into overtime but a terrible shank from 46 yards out by Connor Barth gave Detroit a 27-24 win.
The Vikings scored a statement-win in Week 11, putting away the Los Angeles Rams 24-7. With Aaron Rodgers out for the season in Green Bay, Detroit actually has its best chance in quite some time to cruise its way to a divisional championship. Prater drilled two more in a 14-7 win at Minnesota on October 1. An 8-8 record with some tiebreakers might work. The Lions, as of now, have a 5-3 conference mark.
That mentality can either freeze or free a coach, and I suspect it will give Jim Caldwell and his staff some license to pull out their "break glass in case of emergency" plays as well as be more aggressive on fourth downs.
Detroit's high-scoring efforts have produced steady results in totals betting, with the point total reaching 51 or higher in four of five home dates, and the over prevailing in five of the Lions' past six overall outings.
The Vikings (8-2) have already faced the Lions (6-4) this season.
The Vikings won't play at home again until December 17, and all three games between now and then are against teams with winning records (Detroit, Atlanta and Carolina). The Dallas Cowboys and the Los Angeles Chargers will also throw down on Thanksgiving day. So a Chargers win could be beneficial. Griffen is having a monster season, and although Decker is one of the rising stars in the National Football League, this is a tough matchup for him in his third game back from injury. A Cincinnati win wouldn't be too bad, though, provided the Lions beat the Bengals in Week 16.