The push for the playoffs continues in Detroit, where the Vikings (7-6-1) are currently holding the second wild card in the NFC with two games remaining. The Lions (5-9) are eliminated from playoff contention, and Detroit’s offense has sputtered for the past two months, scoring an average of just 15.8 points per game over their last eight contests with a high of 22 in a 34-22 loss at Chicago Nov. 11. Can Detroit rise up in a division duel and play spoiler against the Vikings?
NFL WEEK 16 FOOTBALL BETTING
Minnesota Vikings (7-6-1) at Detroit Lions (5-9)
Sunday, December 23rd – Ford Field – 1:00pm ET
Odds: Vikings -6 (42.5)
The Lions are just 2-6 SU and 3-5 ATS over their last eight games, and Detroit’s scoring struggles has resulted in seven of their last eight games going under the total including the last five in a row. The Lions are also just 1-3 SU at home over that stretch with a lone 20-19 win over Carolina. A 28-14 loss to Seattle, a 23-16 defeat to backup Bears quarterback Chase Daniel and another loss to the LA Rams, 30-16, show Detroit is being out-played and out-coached with their first-year head coach Matt Patricia not getting the most out of the Lions players while also dealing with some impactful injuries. Rooking running back and leading rusher Kerryon Johnson will miss his fifth straight game with a knee injury, and the Lions return home off an uninspiring loss at Buffalo last week 13-14.
Following the loss to Seattle, the Lions traveled to Minneapolis and lost 24-9 while gaining just 209 total yards offense. That despite the Lions controlling the ball and clock for more than 36 minutes. The Vikings registered 10 sacks that day against QB Matthew Stafford, including a career-high 3.5 sacks by Pro Bowl DE Danielle Hunter, who is tied for second in the league with 14.5 sacks this season. Minnesota added nine more sacks in last week’s 41-17 win over the Dolphins to the Vikings now lead the league with 47 sacks. Plenty of pressure and various looks at the line of scrimmage this week against Stafford, and the Vikings talented defense is beginning to resemble their strong form from last season. Minnesota held Miami to 193 yards offense and is now ranked fourth in the league allowing 314.3 yards per game.
Vikings running back Dalvin Cook rushed 10 times for 89 yards that included a 70-yard run in that first contest against Detroit in his return to the lineup after missing four games. Minnesota’s offense returned to more balance last week under their new interim offensive coordinator, rushing 40 times for 220 yards against a deficient Dolphins run defense. The 41-17 victory produced a season high in points scored.
Embattled quarterback Kirk Cousins passes to a Vikings wide receiving corps that leads all wide receiver groups league-wide with 253 receptions and is tied for second with 22 touchdowns in 2018. Stephon Diggs (92/964 yards) and Pro Bowler Adam Thielen (105/1,255 yards) lead the receivers
Home underdogs have proven to be money makes in recent weeks, going 11-9 SU and 12-7-1 ATS over the past three weeks as road favorites take much of the betting action. That’s the case again this week in this match-up as Minnesota is taking two-thirds of the action so far. As the Vikings play with playoff need, the line is also inflated a bit. But Minnesota is too tough a match-up for the Lions and especially on defense. The Vikings have won two of their last three visits to Ford Field against the Lions and the Vikings offensive weapons combined with their stronger defense should keep them ahead as front runners this week in what appears to be a lower-scoring rematch in the Lions den.
Week 16 NFL Betting Pick – Minnesota Vikings -6.0
Fairway Jay is a professional handicapper based out of Las Vegas. He focuses primarily on the four majors along with college football and college basketball. You can follow him on Twitter @FairwayJay.