The Minnesota Vikings are looking to improve their record to an excellent 11-2 with a win over the Detroit Lions on Sunday afternoon.
The matchup last season in Detroit ended on the last play of the game as Jared Goff found Amon-Ra St. Brown in the end zone as time expired.
The matchup earlier this year saw Kirk Cousins find K.J. Osborn on a corner route from 28 yards out. That game ended with a Josh Metellus interception and the Vikings improved to 2-1 on the season.
This game has both teams coming in going 4-1 in their last five games and should be a classic black-and-blue division matchup. I made five bold predictions for Sunday’s game.
Jalen Reagor sees double digit offensive snaps
Oct 9, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Jalen Reagor (5) scores a touchdown against the Chicago Bears in the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
When the Minnesota Vikings traded for Reagor from the Philadelphia Eagles, the idea was for him to be the starting punt returner, but it was also thought that he would be utilized as an explosive player in the passing game and with gadget plays. Ultimately, the Vikings haven’t done a lot to utilize him. They gave Reagor one play per game pretty much each week and it feels like they are about to try and get him working more into the offense. He had a really nice deep ball catch against the New York Jets and adjusted really well to the football. 10+ snaps with him being in the offense for three months now would make some sense as we get into the stretch run. Plus, he has fresh legs.
The Vikings win by double digits
Nov 24, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell celebrates the win after the game against the New England Patriots at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports
The Minnesota Vikings have just one win by more than eight points and that was in week one against the Green Bay Packers where they won by 16 points. They have only won games decided by one score since that fateful week one matchup but the streak has to end at some point right? The Lions defense is the only one worse than the Vikings in total defense and the Vikings’ offense should be able to take advantage of it.
T.J. Hockenson goes for 120+ yards
Nov 20, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings tight end T.J. Hockenson (87) carries the ball during the second quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
When you play your first game against your former team, emotions are often running high and you are out to prove something. Hockenson left his former team on good terms, but there should still be a chip on his shoulder to perform well. Hockenson has been a priority for the Vikings’ offense and I can see Kevin O’Connell making him a priority to take down the Lions’ defense.
Neither team will turn the ball over
Dec 4, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings safety Harrison Smith (22) returns an interception off New York Jets quarterback Mike White (not pictured) as cornerback Patrick Peterson (7) and wide receiver Elijah Moore (8) look on during the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports
The Vikings have been incredibly opportunistic on defense this season, including +8 turnover differential. The Lions also have a positive turnover differential at +1, but both teams are more opportunistic than they are at creating turnovers. Both quarterbacks have been known to be risk-averse and could easily be smart in not having turnover worthy plays.
Jameson Williams doesn't do anything on offense
Dec 4, 2022; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Lions wide receiver Jameson Williams (9) warms up prior to his first game for the Lions coming off injury against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports
After tearing his ACL in the National Championship Game last January, Williams made his NFL debut this past Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars. He only played a couple of snaps this past weekend, but the ties between Williams and the Vikings due to the trade on draft day which allowed the Lions to select the speedster from Alabama. With the Lions potentially slow-playing Williams, the Vikings will make it a priority to stop him to prove a point.