DETROIT – The Minnesota Vikings have won enough games to be in a position to confirm their place at the top of the National Conference North Division with almost a month left in the regular season.
The Vikings (10-2) have won nine of their last ten games, a streak that began in September with a comeback against the Lions. This streak was marked by narrow victories, which raised questions about the good foundation of this one.
Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins certainly isn’t apologizing for winning nine games by eight points or less.
“If you look at the last few seasons, most games are last minute, last game,” Cousins said. We have the impression that the most bizarre match is the one where we are at the start of the fourth quarter and where everything is already settled. That doesn’t happen often in the NFL. »
If the Vikings win or draw the Lions (5-7), they will win the section title for the first time since 2017.
The Lions will also have a stake on Sunday.
The Michigan team has been on a meteoric rise in the playoff race by winning four of their last five games. It could thus carve out a place as one of the teams drafted from the National.
“If we win, we have a chance,” noted quarterback Jared Goff. If we don’t win, we probably don’t. »
Indeed, but to still be in contention in December after starting the season with a 1-6 record and enjoying a three-game winning streak in head coach Dan Campbell’s first season seems like a concrete sign of progress. .
“It gives a little extra motivation, when you know you have a chance,” Campbell admitted. More importantly, it’s the fact that we feel like we’re playing pretty good football because we do things a certain way and the guys have gained confidence from that. »
Campbell publicly admitted he made a mistake in Week 3 at Minnesota. He opted to go for a 54-yard field goal with a three-point lead and 1:14 remaining against a team that was out of timeouts.
“Of course, it annoys me,” Campbell admitted this week. I mean, this decision will follow me until the day I die. It’s not going to go away. »
Austin Seibert, who was later released, fended off the right kick and Cousins took the opportunity to make two 28-yard passes to KJ Osborn for a 28-24 victory.
Automobile Towns Duel
Vikings star receiver Justin Jefferson was limited to 14 yards and three receptions, his worst performance of the season, in the last meeting between the two clubs. Lions cornerback Jeff Okudah has a lot to do with it.
If Jefferson is muzzled again, the Vikings have an element they didn’t have before against the Lions. Tight end TJ Hockenson, acquired from the Lions on Nov. 1, has 30 catches for 225 yards and a touchdown in five games with the Vikings. He had three catches for 18 yards and a touchdown for the Lions in the last meeting between the two teams.
At high intensity
The Lions have scored 30+ points on six occasions, which puts them at the top of the NFL, and lead the league in efficiency in the pay zone. They scored majors on nearly three-quarters of their attempts.
If the Vikings win another game by eight points or less, they will join the 2019 Seattle Seahawks and 1978 Houston Oilers with 10 wins by that margin.