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Week 7 Preview: Vikings at Lions

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Minnesota Vikings (3-2) at Detroit Lions (1-5)

Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET, at Ford Field, Detroit – TV: FOX

*TV announcers: Chris Myers, Ronde Barber, Jennifer Hale

*Keys to the game: A minus-8 turnover margin — and 18 turnovers in six games — is making life difficult for Detroit, a team with a poor record but star-quality talent and wins in two of the past three against the Vikings. Minnesota hasn’t gotten home against QB Matt Stafford of late — one sack in 81 attempts over two games — but hit him 10 times when the teams played in Week 2.

Opponents are completing a whopping 73.7 percent of their passes against the Lions’ defense and QB Teddy Bridgewater was even better (77.8) when Minnesota beat Detroit in September. RB Adrian Peterson had a season-high 31 touches in that game and averaged 4.6 yards per carry, but the Vikings struggled to open holes last week. Watch for the Vikings to again set the table with Peterson, but throw on first down between the numbers to convince the Lions an air raid could be coming.

*Matchup to watch – Vikings CB Xavier Rhodes vs. Lions WR Calvin Johnson: Rhodes held Johnson to four catches for 53 yards in last year’s meeting at Detroit (a 16-14 Lions win) but covered on eight of Johnson’s 10 catches for 83 yards and a touchdown in the Vikings’ 26-16 win at TCF Bank Stadium in Week 2. Rhodes has a league-high eight penalties and his aggressiveness can work against him. Johnson finally looked like his old superstar self with six catches for 166 yards last week.

*Player spotlight – Vikings WR Stefon Diggs: Teammate Mike Wallace compared the diminutive but springy Diggs to Antonio Brown, a onetime teammate of Wallace’s with the Steelers. That’s a high ceiling to strive for but Diggs has proven a potent playmaker with six catches of 20-plus yards.

*Fast facts: Peterson averages 126.6 yards from scrimmage in 13 career games vs. Lions. … The Vikings are 2-13 on the road since 2013.

WHO WILL WIN AND WHY

The Lions could be due a correction of sorts but until they find an answer at running back to balance an erratic offense, Detroit goes into every game with a puncher’s chance. Trouble is, Minnesota’s body blows are coming from RB Adrian Peterson, who carries the Vikings to an elusive road win.

*Our pick: Vikings 26-20.


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