Vikings vs. Lions Expert Pick – January 7, 2024
VIKINGS VS. LIONS EXPERT PICK – January 7, 2024 — The Lions have secured a playoff spot but are fighting for seeding. They can take the two-seed with a win and a loss by the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles.
Related: Nate’s Week 18 NFL Predictions
The Vikings are on the bubble but only have a four percent chance of getting in. If they win, their chances jump to 10%, but they need three things to happen. They need the Bears and Cardinals to win and either a Falcons or Panthers victory. It could turn into a back-and-forth game.
(7-9 SU, 7-6–3 ATS)
(11-5 SU, 11-5 ATS)
When: Sunday, January 7 at 12:00 p.m. EST
Where: Ford Field, Detroit, MI
Odds courtesy of DraftKings, as of January 7th, 2024.
The Vikings lost to the Packers last week, 33 to 10. The Vikings will be without cornerbacks Byron Murphy (knee) and Mekhi Blackmon (shoulder).
Defensive tackle Jaquelin Roy will be out with an ankle injury. Right tackle Brian O’Neill is listed as out due to an ankle injury. Right guard Ed Ingram (shoulder) and left tackle Christian Darrisaw (illness) are questionable for Sunday’s game.
The Lions lost to the Cowboys last week after some questionable officiating cost them the game and potentially a two-seed.
They will be without wide receiver Jameson Williams (ankle/illness) and tight end Brock Wright (hip). Safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson is returning from an extended layoff due to tearing his pectoral muscle in week two. Dan Campbell has stated that he will be in a rotational role in his first game back.
Minnesota Vikings vs. Detroit Lions Head-To-Head
These teams faced recently in week 16. The Lions won 30 to 24 and picked off Nick Mullens four times. The Lions defense got burnt by Justin Jefferson, though. He caught six passes for 141 yards, including a 26-yard touchdown from Mullen to end the first half.
The Lions’ run defense and turnovers were the key in that game. The Vikings finished with a measly 17 rushing yards as a team and 373 in the air while losing the turnover battle four to one. Every team would struggle to win a game with that many turnovers, and the Vikings are no different.
Nick Mullens will start this week after replacing Jaren Hall last week. Joshua Dobbs will be his backup, and Hall is the third string. Head coach Kevin O’Connell has made several changes this season and seems willing to change if needed. Justin Jefferson looks normal since his return and will need another massive game to keep their playoff hopes alive.
The Lions’ secondary is their weakness on defense. They allow 240.4 passing yards per game, the main reason they surrender 23.4 points per opponent. Teams can throw and convert third downs against them. Mullens must protect the football, which has been a problem all season.
The Lions should be able to move the ball against this defense because they are one of the top five offenses in the league. Jahmyr Gibbs ran 15 times for 80 yards and two scores in their week 16 matchup. David Montgomery had 17 for 55 and a score.
The Vikings need to keep them in check if they want a chance because the backfield is the engine of this offense. Amon-Ra St. Brown also keeps this offense churning as a target monster. He averages 10.3 targets per game and catches quite a few of them.
It could turn into a close game in the fourth if the Vikings do not turn the ball over four times.
The total is 46 on DraftKings, with the over being juiced to -115. I would take the over, given the injuries in the Vikings’ secondary and the overall offensive nature of both teams.
The Lions are 3.5-point favorites at home. I would take the Lions -3.5. They should win and move on to watch the afternoon slate, with them needing the Cowboys and Eagles to lose.
Justin Jefferson is at 882 yards this season and can make it to 1,000 against this secondary. His yardage total is 92.5, and I would take the over. This secondary got burnt by him in week 16, and they allowed 227 to CeeDee Lamb last week.
OVER 46 Total Points
Justin Jefferson OVER 92.5 Yards