Tuesday, September 20, 2011

JZN NFL Predictions vs. Spread: Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings (Week 3, 2011-2012)

The Minnesota Vikings must defeated the Detroit Lions as they host them in Week 3 of the 2011-12 NFL season. A loss would put them at 0-3 and make the shouts for Christian Ponder (or Andrew Luck?) even louder.

The early spread on this game is Lions (-3.5). Here are some of the key aspects of the game and what to watch out for when betting. All lines from Cooper's Pick and Injury Reports from covers.com as of September 20, 2011. Always keep yourself updated with injury lines because they’ll unexpectedly change throughout the week.
#1: Injuries
The Lions' biggest injuries include DT Nick Fairley and CB Alphonso Smith. However, both of these guys haven't played in their 2-0 start thus far. 

The Vikings' secondary may be iwthout some key players. S Tyrell Johnson could face suspension after getting his fourth DWI charge (Whatever happened to third time's a charm)? CB Chris Cook is also questionable. That isn't good since they're facing an explosive Lions' offense that consists of Nate Burleson, Calvin Johnson and Matthew Stafford. DT Kevin Williams is eligible to return from his two-game suspension. 

#2: Similar Opponents
The Lions won at Tampa Bay 27-20 in Week 1 of the regular season. The Vikings lost vs. Tampa Bay 24-20 in Week 2 after blowing a 17-0 halftime lead.

#3:Lions Run Defense vs. Adrian Peterson
The Lions run defense has basically been untested. Jamaal Charles was injured in the first quarter of Week 2 while the Tampa Bay Buccaneers completely abandoned LaGarrette Blount from their running game. There's no way that's happening with a backfield that contains Donovan McNabb and Peterson.

#4: Divisional Rivalry
The Lions and Vikings are divisional rivals. These games can be a bit unpredictable because both teams have such familiarity with each other.

#5: The Roar of the Lion King
The Lions have won six consecutive games dating back to last season (10 if one includes the preseason). They're coming off a 48-3 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs. They're confident, but will they become too confident?

#6 Turnover Ratio
The Detroit Lions have the NFL's no. 1 turnover ratio at +6. The Vikings aren't too bad in this department at +1. Of course, they played the San Diego Chargers. That usually inflates that statistic positively...

Final Predictions:
Maybe the theory behind this line is that the Vikings will play an entire game like they did in the first half against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. However, I just don't understand why this line is so low. The Vikings have blown two second-half leads this season and they aren't built to come from behind. To me, this line should at least be (-6.5).

For the Vikings, the best case scenario is that they win this by one possession. However, they could also lose this by three touchdowns. I'd have to recommend going with the Lions or avoiding this game.

Against the Spread: Detroit Lions (-3.5)
Straight: Detroit Lions 23, Minnesota Vikings 10

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