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O'HARA'S WEEK 16 PREVIEW: Both teams looking forward to a crucial division matchup

If the Detroit Lions have faced any added pressure from being in first place in the NFC North all season, head coach Dan Campbell welcomes it.

That should be no surprise, given how Campbell likes facing challenges.

"Certainly, we go into places where you're going to want to play well against us," Campbell said. "We have won games. We are playing pretty good football. Most teams are going to want to put their best foot forward."

The Lions are 10-4 and are closing in on the NFC North title.

The Minnesota Vikings, who play the Lions Sunday, certainly want to make a good showing. The Vikings are 7-7 and still competing for a playoff berth.

They still have a mathematical chance of beating the Lions out for the North title. That would include the Vikings winning their last three games – which includes beating the Lions twice – while the Lions lose their last three.

"The more you win, the more the pressure goes up," Campbell said. "You should enjoy that. I think that's kind of where we are at. It's when we're at our best, is when you have people gunning for you. It doesn't always go your way, but you find a way to bounce back."

Vikings View:

Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O'Connell sounded like he had lost something precious when he spoke to the media Monday.

The Vikings are in the group of teams competing for a playoff berth, and they were in good shape to improve their odds with a 17-3 lead in Saturday's game with the Cincinnati Bengals.

That lead withered away. The Vikings wound up losing, 27-24, in overtime. Instead of departing with an 8-6 won-loss record, the Vikings left with a 7-7 record.

"Still very, very tough," O'Connell said Monday. "Kind of processing everything that took place Saturday. Tough, tough outcome for our team."

It was a tough loss in a tough season for the Vikings. They have been playing quarterback roulette since the eighth game, when Kirk Cousins went down for the season with a torn Achilles.

The Vikings were 4-4 with a healthy Cousins, and 3-3 without him. Next up for the Vikings is a home game Sunday against the Lions. It's a game that O'Connell seems to relish.

"We're excited to be back at US Bank Stadium and have our fans get that place rocking," he said. "Our football team has a ton still to play for. It's all about this week, and this week's opportunity."

There are some bright spots for the Vikings.

Ty Chandler led them in rushing against the Bengals with 23 carries for 133 yards. Star wide receiver Justin Jefferson, who missed half the season with a hamstring injury, had seven catches for 84 yards.

Nick Mullens, despite some costly breakdowns, completed 26 of 33 passes for 303 yards with two TDs and two picks. And the Vikings' defense produced five sacks against the Bengals.

View photos of the starters for the Minnesota Vikings.

Lions' keys:

Offense: Get an early lead and build on it, just like they did in last week's win over the Broncos. After a scoreless first quarter, the Lions scored 21 points in the second quarter and rolled to a victory.

Defense: Be aggressive against Mullens, who is making his second start for the Vikings. Don't let him get comfortable. Keep the heat on. It worked against the Broncos.

Lions-Vikings prediction:

The Lions are one win away from winning their first division title since 1993. They get their win Sunday. Lions are favored by 3.

My pick: Lions 27, Vikings 16.

Who ya got?

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