Nolan Bianchi, John Niyo, Justin Rogers and Bob Wojnowski of The Detroit News offer predictions for Sunday’s Lions-Vikings game at U.S. Bank Stadium (1 p.m., Fox/97.1).
▶ Nolan Bianchi: The Lions have never won on the road under Dan Campbell, and I suspect it’ll take another game or two to earn that victory. The Vikings falling by 17 to the Eagles — who only beat the Lions by three — feels more like a bad sign than a good one for Detroit, as a more-talented Vikings team will be highly motivated to get its offense back on track and return to the win column. Expect the Lions to hang around as always in Minnesota this Sunday, but in the end, it feels like Minnesota’s offense will have enough in the tank to power through. The Lions fall to 1-2, but on the plus side, Campbell goes to 13-7 against the spread as Detroit’s coach. Vikings, 30-27
▶ John Niyo: The Vikings already have been up and down in two weeks under a new coach. The offense clearly has a different look with Kevin O’Connell in charge, and the aggression on that side of the ball will test the Lions’ back seven. But the real question is whether the Vikings’ run defense is as soft as it looked against two good teams in Green Bay and Philadelphia. If so, the Lions can take control and take a huge step against a division foe. But I’m still banking on the Vikings taking advantage of the home crowd in a stadium where Detroit hasn’t won since Jim Caldwell was their coach. Vikings, 28-24
▶ Justin Rogers: The Lions’ offense has overcome every blow it has been dealt so far, but offensive line continuity is a bigger issue on the road, where the need for chemistry and cohesion in the chaos of a loud environment is amplified. The Lions are almost certainly going to roll into this one with two backup guards and either a backup center or a starter who is less than 100%. That’s problematic against a defense allowing just 15½ points per game the first two weeks. Defensively, the Lions still haven’t gotten on track and stopping star receiver Justin Jefferson is going to be a major issue after what A.J. Brown did to them in the opener. Vikings, 27-23
▶ Bob Wojnowski: The Lions and Vikings split a pair of crazy games last year, each winning on the final play. This has the potential for more craziness, with the Lions’ offense humming and the Vikings’ offense idling, for now. You never know what you’re getting from Kirk Cousins, but you can bet Justin Jefferson will be a handful. Minnesota’s pass rush has tormented the Lions for years, and Jared Goff needs to hone his accuracy. Both teams already have played the Eagles — the Vikings were pounded, while the Lions were close. What does that mean? Ah, who knows? I just know the Lions will be in the game until the end. Vikings, 34-30