The Lions are coming away from one of the most embarrassing games in recent history, getting manhandled by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 47-7. Walking into the game with a patchwork coaching staff, Stafford was injured on the first drive, and it was quickly clear, we all knew it was going to be a rough game.
The Vikings also suffered a rough defeat that they would like to forget, losing 52-33 to the New Orleans Saints. Alvin Karama delivered on Christmas day, gifting the Vikings defense six solo touchdowns, tying the NFL record. The Vikings were eliminated from playoff contention with the loss.
The last time these teams met, in Week 9, Vikings running back Dalvin Cook punctured the Lions run defense for 206 yards and two touchdowns along with 46 receiving and they comfortably walked away with a 34-20 win. Matthew Stafford — who missed practice all week due to a COVID-19 close contact situation — threw two interceptions, targeting T.J. Hockenson on each of them, and Chase Daniel added another pick for good measure late in the game.
Stafford has suffered from a slew of injuries this season, and his status was up in the air for the season finale, but he looks to suiting up for the final game. The Vikings will be without star running Dalvin Cook after his father passed away this past week (condolences for the family), along with several defensive players, including starters CB Cameron Dantzler and LB Eric Kendricks.
Despite the Lions’ coaching staff back and Stafford expected to play, experts are still not convinced the Lions could steal this from the Vikings. According to NFL Pickwatch, 95% of experts are siding with the Vikings.
The type of season the Lions have had, it would be Lion-esque for them to win a meaningless game and land outside the top 10 in the draft, but it is hard to see the Lions pulling off the win when they have nothing to play for and the Vikings trying to end the season on a positive note for their retained coaching staff.
With the season coming to a close and a new regime on the horizon, the Lions’ future is in limbo. We are unaware of how much a rebuild the team will go through, leaving the future of most of the players in doubt. The Lions are doing a more thorough search this time around, giving some hope, but we’re likely still a long way from seeing results.