Free Press sports writers give their predictions for the Detroit Lions game Sunday at Ford Field against the Minnesota Vikings (1 p.m., Fox):
The Lions left Minnesota in Week 3 feeling like they let a golden opportunity slip out of their hands, and they have a chance to atone for their mistakes in Sunday’s rematch with their playoff hopes on the line. Offensively, the Lions have proven they can score with anyone, and defensively they’ve been a different team at Ford Field. They’re young and hungry, and they’ve got an air of confidence about their play.
The Vikings are not a dominant 10-2 team, but it would be wrong to chalk their success up to luck. They have a diverse and dangerous offense, led by the best receiver in the NFL, and enough pass rush on defense to play deep into January. There’s a palpable excitement about this game, though, and with home-field advantage and so much at stake, I think the Lions — who likely need to win out to make the postseason — exorcise some demons by making the plays they need to late. The pick: Lions 28, Vikings 24.
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Give the Vikings credit for being one of the NFL’s best and hottest teams, but there’s a reason they’re 2½-point underdogs coming into Ford Field. Part of that is because the Lions are playing their best football in a long time and part of that is because the Vikings have more or less survived several of their victories and have leaned on being opportunistic as one of the best takeaway teams. But the Lions know how to take care of the ball and have surrendered just three giveaways in the past six games. The pick: Lions 32, Vikings 24
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The Lions are getting healthy, young players are developing, the defense has improved and they are fighting for a playoff spot. Dang, didn’t see this coming after the last time they played Minnesota and Dan Campbell had a brain cramp. The oddsmakers in Vegas don’t believe in the Vikings, and neither do I. Lions will do it again. The pick: Lions 31, Vikings 27.
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Who am I to buckle the oddsmakers? If the Lions made history becoming the first 5-7 team to be favored over a 10-2 team, then they might as well cement the history with a win. A win, by the way, that will make December as interesting as it’s been around here in years. Besides, the Lions owe the Vikings. The pick: Lions 26, Vikings 23.
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This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Lions vs. Minnesota Vikings NFL game predictions