The Minnesota Vikings answered last month’s low-scoring loss to the Detroit Lions with six straight victories to catapult themselves to the top of the NFC North. The Vikings look to take a stranglehold on the division Thanksgiving Day when they visit the Lions, who have won three consecutive contests overall and are 3-0 against division foes this season.
Case Keenum completed a season-low 53.3 percent of his passes in a 14-7 setback to Detroit on Nov. 1, but has averaged 68.0 percent during the team’s winning streak - including 71.1 (27 of 38 for 280 yards) in Sunday’s 24-7 victory over the Los Angeles Rams. “He’s got a horseshoe right now,” coach Mike Zimmer said of the 29-year-old Keenum. Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford has been living a charmed life since signing a five-year, $135 million deal in the summer to become the highest-paid player in the NFL, and the 29-year-old has paid dividends with multiple touchdown passes in three straight games and seven of 10 this season. Stafford, however, was held in check against Minnesota as he threw for just 209 yards without a touchdown pass.
TV: 12:30 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Vikings -3. O/U: 44.5
ABOUT THE VIKINGS (8-2): Adam Thielen has an NFC-best 916 receiving yards while his 16 catches of at least 20 yards has the 27-year-old tied with Pittsburgh’s Antonio Brown for the league lead. Thielen has 19 catches for 387 yards in the last three games and found the end zone for the third straight week with a 65-yard touchdown reception against the Rams. Not to be outdone, Latavius Murray scored twice last week while matching his season best with 6.3 yards per carry. The 27-year-old has four touchdowns in his last four games and faces a Detroit defense that allowed 222 yards rushing on Sunday and 423 yards on the ground over the last two weeks.
ABOUT THE LIONS (6-4): Detroit’s maligned rushing game takes plenty of hits, but Ameer Abdullah has been a positive factor of late with three touchdowns (two rushing, one receiving) in the last three games. The 24-year-old had found the end zone just once in his previous seven games, notably a 3-yard touchdown rush against the Vikings with eight minutes to play in the fourth quarter. Marvin Jones Jr., who had just two catches in that contest, reeled in his team-leading sixth touchdown reception of the season and fourth in his last five outings during Sunday’s 27-24 victory over Chicago.
1. Detroit is bidding for its third sweep of the season series in four years.
2. The Vikings’ defense ranks second in rushing yards allowed per game (77.7), fourth in points permitted (17.2) and fifth in yards per game (290.5).
3. Lions DT Anthony Zettel recorded two of his team-leading six sacks in the first encounter against the Vikings.
PREDICTION: Lions 24, Vikings 21