The Detroit Lions have an opportunity to clinch the NFC North title for the first time in franchise history on Sunday when they visit last year's division champion, the Minnesota Vikings.
Last time out: The Lions had their most dominant win of the season. The 42-17 win over the Denver Broncos was fueled by quarterback Jared Goff's five touchdowns and 278 passing yards. The rushing duo of David Montgomery and Jahmyr Gibbs combined for 185 yards. Wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown reached over 100 yards receiving again and tight end Sam LaPorta had three touchdown grabs.
The Broncos were shut out in the first half by a Lions' defense that forced four punts and recovered a fumble. Safety Ifeatu Melifonwu forced the fumble on a strip sack while adding eight tackles, two passes defended and a couple quarterback hits. Linebacker Alex Anzalone led the team with 12 tackles and defensive lineman Josh Paschal had the team's second sack.
Minnesota was up 17-3 before a fourth quarter collapse resulted in a 27-24 overtime loss. They out-gained the Bengals 424 yards to 378 yards thanks to Ty Chandler's 132 yards on the ground. Quarterback Nick Mullens threw for 303 yards and completed 78.8 percent of his passes, but two interceptions ended up being costly.
They sacked Cincinnati's Jake Browning five times and only allowed three points at the half but couldn't get a stop in the fourth quarter. The Bengals rattled off three touchdown drives—all of at least seven plays and 63 yards.
Comparison: The Vikings are only 2-4 at U.S. Bank Stadium this season, while Detroit has had success on the road with a 5-2 record away from home. However, the Lions haven't won in Minnesota since 2017.
Matchups: Both these teams have a multitude of receiving weapons at their disposal. Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison and T.J. Hockenson make up the Viking's seventh ranked passing offense. The Lions sit a few spots ahead of Minnesota at fourth best in the league with 253.5 passing yards per game. The offenses will benefit from playing defenses that tend to struggle against the pass game. Minnesota and Detroit find themselves near the bottom half of the league giving up 224 and 225 yards per game through the air.
In their last meeting: Detroit topped Minnesota in Week 14 of last season, 34-23. The Vikings only managed 22 yards rushing and fumbled twice. The contest also featured a 330 yard and three touchdown performance from Goff.
The overall series: Minnesota has had the upper hand against Detroit. They lead the series 80-41-2 and have taken nine of the last 11.
Matchup odds: The Lions are favored by ESPN Analytics with a 60.5 percent chance to win.
View photos of the starters for the Minnesota Vikings.
Here are 5 Vikings storylines to follow heading into Sunday's matchup:
1. O'Connell on injury updates on Cousins and others, thoughts on Lions offense, keeping focus on this week's game and more
Head coach Kevin O'Connell speaks with media about the threat that Goff and the Lions offense presents and what his team's game plan and mindset looks like ahead of Sunday ... WATCH
2. Hockenson shares thoughts on final 3 regular season games, facing his former team and more
Former Lion T.J. Hockenson talks about the challenge of playing with different quarterbacks and what it means to take on his former team … WATCH
3. Lunchbreak: ESPN on the rise of running back Ty Chandler
Running back Ty Chandler wasn't seeing much game action to begin the season but recent performances like last week's 132 yards set him up to be the lead back against the Lions … READ MORE
4. Film Room: How will Jared Goff and the Lions' look to attack the Vikings defense?
Former Vikings player and coach Pete Bercich breaks down the importance of timing in the Lions offense and what the Vikings might be looking to do to disrupt it ... WATCH
5. Jefferson on his performance against Bengals, thoughts on Lions defense, confidence in Mullens and more
Star wide receiver Justin Jefferson discusses his return from injury, the energy the Lions have on defense and the team's goals for the end of the season ... WATCH