By Chris Morgan

The Detroit Lions have guaranteed themselves a winning record, having won two games in a row by the score of 34-17. In addition to their defense staying strong, their offense has picked it up, making them look formidable as they continue their playoff push. This week, the Lions are hosting the Minnesota Vikings. It is important for them to win this game, as any hope of winning the NFC North probably is reliant on them winning this game. Earlier in the year, this seemed like another great chance for a win. However, that seems less likely at the moment.

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That’s not to say the Lions will not be the favorites. After all, Detroit beat Minnesota 17-3 earlier in the year, and that was on the road. However, much like the Lions, the Vikings are on a two game win streak, pushing their record to 6-7 on the season. It was not expected that the Vikings would even win six games all year, especially with Adrian Peterson sidelined with his suspension for essentially the entire season. They are not a team that will go down easy, although it must be noted their two game win streak consists of home wins over the Carolina Panthers and the New York Jets, and that game against the Jets went into overtime.

Earlier in the year, the Vikings were still adjusting to new head coach Mike Zimmer, not having Peterson, and also having rookie Teddy Bridgewater under center. Bridgewater has gotten a bit more accustomed to the role, and the team has actually run the ball reasonably well, although Jerick McKinnon is now hurt, and that doesn’t help. Also, this won’t help them against the Lions. Detroit is great against the run. Teams often don’t even bother running the ball against them these days. That will mean that the Vikings will have to rely on Bridgewater throwing the ball, which is not what they want to do. Detroit has also gotten after the quarterback very well these last two weeks, and they made life miserable for Josh McCown last week. They will try and do that again, and the chances are good they will succeed.

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That just leaves the Lions needing to do enough on offense to win. The last two weeks are encouraging here. Reggie Bush didn’t do much last week in his return, but it was just one game. Having him back helps, and Joique Bell is playing well. Calvin Johnson has been outstanding. Matthew Stafford has even played well. The Vikings are better against the pass than the run, so they may need Bush to be back on track. Of course, with Megatron playing this way, it seems unlikely anybody is going to stop him.

The Vikings are good enough to beat the bad teams, but they haven’t really taken down anybody nearly as good as the Lions. The only decent team they have beat is the St. Louis Rams, and that was in the season opener. Detroit should win, but it won’t be easy. They need their offense to keep going strong, or they need their defense to hold the Vikings to three points again. That’s certainly possible. This is not a defense to mess with.

For more Lions news and updates, visit Lions Central.

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Chris Morgan has been a diehard Detroit Lions fan through the good (Barry Sanders) and the bad (Matt Millen) and that love has led him to take jobs writing about sports, including as a fantasy sports “expert.” His work can be found on Examiner.com. .