The Vikings return from their bye this week and get right back into the swing of things with a divisional game against the Detroit Lions at Mall of America Field, a place the Lions haven’t won in since 1997. Another trend working in the Vikings favor is their record coming out of a bye under head coach Brad Childress - a perfect 3-0.
But it will take more than a reliance on those 2 trends for the Vikings to continue their winning ways this weekend. They are 7-1 through the first 8 games but the solid start can be spoiled quickly if the team performs poorly coming out of the break. And although the Vikings have dominated their series with the Lions recently, not every game has been a mismatch.
The Vikings defeated Detroit by 13 earlier this year and by 32 in 2007. But Minnesota’s 2 wins last year over the Lions came by a combined 6 points and Detroit pulled out a 3-point victory over the Vikings in overtime during the 2007 season.
But all of that is in the past, and we all know past results do not guarantee future success. So let’s take a look at a few aspects of this matchup…
– The Vikings have a significant statistical advantage over the Lions so far in 2009. Detroit ranks 25th in total offense and 26th in scoring offense, while the Vikings rank 11th and 2nd in those categories, respectively. Also, the Lions rank 31st in pass defense and they’ll face a QB this weekend – Brett Favre – who is the 2nd-highest rated passer in the NFL this season.
– The Lions young passing tandem of WR Calvin Johnson and QB Matthew Stafford has missed a combined 4 games this year. But it appears they will both be healthy and ready to go this weekend after recovering from knee injuries. Although their production has been limited this year, it wouldn’t be surprising to see this year’s #1 pick (Stafford) and one of the best WRs in the game (Johnson) have success together.
– The Vikings have played significantly better than the Lions on 3rd down. The Lions offense ranks 17th in 3rd down conversion percentage and the Vikings defense ranks 9th. Conversely, the Lions defense stops opponents on 3rd downs just 38.5% of the time while the Vikings are converting 46.4% of the time, 3rd best in the NFL. Additionally, the Lions are last in 3rd downs allowed through the air, while the Vikings have picked up 63% of their 3rd downs through the air.
– Speaking of offense through the air, the Lions have allowed 19 passing TDs, which is 2nd-worst in the NFL, while the Vikings are tied for 4th in passing TDs.
– Lastly, the Lions are -7 in turnover ratio, a number that took a huge dive last weekend after Stafford’s 5-INT performance. In fact, 16 of the Lions 18 turnovers are INTs. Against the Vikings in Week 2, Stafford was picked off twice by LB Chad Greenway. The Vikings are +5 in turnover margin and they are ranked 7th in points off of turnovers with 55.
Those are just a few angles on the game this weekend, but there is a lot more to talk about regarding this game and the vikings.com Blog will have it all for you, so keep coming back here for comprehensive coverage of your favorite football team.
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 6 Comments »