Detroit Lions vs. Minnesota Vikings

Detroit News writer Nolan Bianchi breaks down the Detroit Lions’ Week 3 game against the Minnesota Vikings.

Lions at Vikings

To start up: 1 p.m. Sunday, U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis

TV/Radio: Fox/97.1

Recordings: Lions 1-1, Vikings 1-1

Line: Lions +6

Key match


Vikings sixth-year running back Dalvin Cook is averaging 106.3 rushing yards per game in his career against the Lions, and he will be the focal point of Detroit’s defensive offense this Sunday as the Lions visit Minnesota.

There’s a strong case to be made that Cook isn’t even his team’s most dangerous offensive weapon, and yet his ability to unlock everything else for Minnesota makes him the No. 1 priority on the Lions defensive game plan this week.

Kirk Cousins ​​can – and will – hurt you if you let him. In nine career games against the Lions, Cousins ​​is 7-2, 74.2% completion percentage, 19-2 touchdown to interception ratio, 119 passer rating .9 and an average of 282 yards per game.

Cousins’ two best matches as a Viking? They both came against Detroit, with the first meeting between the two teams in 2019 and 2020 producing his two best passer ratings in his 65-game career with Minnesota. In those two games, Cook had 384 yards on 47 touches (8.1 yards per carry) and four touchdowns.

The Lions – like any other team in the league – will struggle to slow down the Vikings offense as a whole, which means making sure they do it right is even more important. It starts by slowing Cook down; if the Lions can do that, they’ll also have a chance to slow Cousins, Jefferson and the ever-dangerous Adam Thielen.

Vikings to Watch

WR Justin Jefferson: Jefferson might be the best pound-for-pound receiver in the National Football League, and while he didn’t necessarily show it in a six-catch, 48-yard performance Monday night against the Eagles, he’ll go down as the greatest threatens. for any opponent Minnesota faces this season. Jefferson led the league in receiving yards in Week 1 with 184 yards and two touchdowns. It could be argued that how Jefferson — and the Vikings as a whole — perform on Monday will actually come at the expense of the Lions, as Minnesota will likely turn to Jefferson early and often in Week 3.

LB Jordan Hicks: Two weeks into the season, Detroit leads the league in rushing average (7.2 yards) and is tied for first in touchdowns scored. Touchdowns probably aren’t there without a rushing offense, which means Hicks, who tied a career-high 14 tackles against Green Bay in Week 1 and is the team’s leading passing thrower according to Pro Football Focus, will be a vital piece in stopping the Lions’ multi-pronged offense

RB Dalvin Cook: Cook was stopped dead in his tracks Monday night against the Eagles, going for 17 yards on six carries. Just like with Jefferson, the Lions can expect a healthy dose of Cook as the Vikings look to get him back on track. And even though he stumbled against Philadelphia, there’s no real reason to believe he’ll be held under 20 rushing yards for a second straight week – especially since Cook ran for more yards on the Lions. than any other team in his career, averaging 6.13 yards per attempt in six career games.

Facts and figures

  • Lions second-year wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown just can’t keep his name out of the record-breaking conversations lately, and that will continue this weekend as well. If St. Brown can score a touchdown against Minnesota, he’ll set the Lions franchise record for most consecutive games (nine) with a touchdown – a streak that began without a clock in Detroit’s first win of the season. last year against the Vikings. With eight more receptions, he will set the new league record for having had nine straight games with eight or more catches.
  • With that St. Brown loss to the Vikings last season, Detroit ended an eight-game losing streak against Minnesota in Week 13. As the Lions travel to face the Vikings this week, they will be looking to break another bad mark: a four-game losing streak in Minneapolis. The Lions last won at Minnesota in 2017. In four games since, they’ve been held to single-digit points twice and outscored by a 97-53 aggregate.
  • New-look offense? Pish Posh. The Lions have racked up touchdowns since the end of last season; Detroit has now scored a touchdown in every quarter since the second quarter of Week 17 last year. With one touchdown in 15 straight quarters — a franchise record — the Lions currently boast the longest active streak in the NFL.

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