Free Press sports writers offer their predictions for the Detroit Lions game Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings at Ford Field (1 p.m., CBS):
LIONS VS. VIKINGS: Dave Birkett’s scouting report, prediction
The Lions have played well defensively since the bye, holding their past three opponents to 16 or fewer points. But the Lions have been so bad offensively that they would have five wins right now if they had reached just 20 points in every game. One thing the Lions could have going for them: This could be an emotional game, as the team will honor the victims of the Oxford shooting before kickoff. But based on their performance through the season’s first 12 weeks, it’s hard to see the Lions beating a Vikings team still playing for the playoffs. The pick: Vikings 20, Lions 14.
Can the Lions win this game? Sure they can. Can I win the lottery? Sure I can. And we both have approximately the same statistical probability. The Lions aren’t as bad as their 0-10-1 record suggests, but I won’t pick them to win again this season unless they finally do. Winning isn’t everything and the Lions will do some good things in this game in all three phases and score more than 20 points for the first time since Halloween. But the Vikings are also better than their 5-6 record suggests. Kirk Cousins even won a recent shootout with Aaron Rodgers, which is strange since neither likes taking shots. The pick: Vikings 31, Lions 24.
Just when you think the Lions can’t find a new way to lose. Just when you think the Lions have reached a new low, they call back-to-back timeouts and run on third-and-forever. No. Wait. Been there, done that. So this one will be your garden variety field goal at the end to lose it. Ho hum. Yes, we’ve seen that before. And we are gonna see it again Sunday. The pick: Vikings 24, Lions 23.
Let’s give ’em a touchdown and a couple of field goals, a reprieve from a last-second loss, as these Lions certainly don’t deserve more of that kind of pain. Dan Campbell insists he’s learning about which plays to call and which to avoid and maybe that makes a slight difference. But the roster is still the roster. The pick: Vikings 23, Lions 16.
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