The Vikings hit the road this Sunday to face the Detroit Lions in a pivotal divisional matchup.
Quarterback Kirk Cousins has silenced his critics with impressive games the past two weeks and a repeat performance will have the Vikings breathing down the Packers necks for the NFC North lead.
Here are three things to watch for, including staff predictions in the Vikings-Eagles game.
1. Another big game for the offense
Cousins has been impressive the past two weeks carving up the Giants and Eagles.
Last week against Philadelphia, Cousins and Diggs connected on seven receptions for 167 yards and three touchdowns.
Detroit's defense has been shredded the last few weeks – albeit against some very great quarterbacks in Aaron Rodgers, Patrick Mahomes, Carson Wentz and Phillip Rivers.
Regardless they're giving up 413 yards per game which is the fourth most in the NFL. So it won't be surprising to see Cousins hit Adam Thielen and Diggs down the sidelines.
They've also giving up 133 rushing yards each week so Dalvin Cook should also be in line for a big week.
2. Stafford struggles continue
Even though he's had some bigger games in the past, Stafford has struggled in his last four games against Mike Zimmer and the Vikings defense.
In those four games, Stafford has a passer rating of just 78.7 with only two touchdowns, one interception four fumbles and has been sacked 21 times, with 10 of them coming last year when the Lions came to U.S. Bank Stadium.
Clearly Zimmer's been able to rattle him and guys like Everson Griffen and Danielle Hunter are going to be chasing him around all day.
3. Finally a division win
With the Vikings already dropping two divisional games this season to the Bears and Packers, Minnesota's already behind the eight ball for tiebreakers in the NFC North.
If they don't pull off a win on Sunday, the best Minnesota can go in the division is 4-3. With no one in the division under .500 through seven weeks, clearly the path to winning the North is going to be tough.
So the importance of a Vikings win on Sunday is going to have implications for the rest of the season.
Declan Goff, BMTN Sports writer
The Lions are coming off a game against the Packers where the referees completely hosed them, so they're probably pretty pissed off and rightfully so. I still think though that Vikings are the better team. The offense has been hitting a ton of big plays lately and starting to come around. With Stafford's recent struggled against the Vikings, I think the defense will be all over him. Vikings win big.
Final score: Vikings 28, Detroit 10
Blair Anderson, tortured Vikings fan
The confidence is brimming on this team. Undoubtedly, Kirk Cousins is going to leave someone out of the gameplan so he can get another guest on his radio show, but I don’t think it’s going to matter much. If the Vikings put Detroit down from the jump, this could be as big of a massacre when B-Rabbit destroyed Clarence at the end of “8 Mile.”
Final score: Vikings 31, Detroit 14
Chris Schad, BMTN Sports Writer
The Philadelphia win makes me feel better about everything on this team, but count me as still being nervous. Regardless, I think the difference will be the running game. If they get Dalvin Cook involved, I think he could have a monster game. The Lions will try to stop him, but with their linebackers, this game falls right into the Vikings wheelhouse to put up some points and coast to a win.
Final score: Vikings 27, Lions 17
Adam Uren, BMTN Editor
The Lions dominate the Vikings. Absolutely dominate them for three quarters. They enter the final quarter with a surely unassailable 28-7 lead, but then they start to Lions it. Matt Stafford slips on a literal banana skin as he's about to let fly a 10-yard pass to an open receiver in the endzone, the ball is returned for a TD. Then, the specter of Bill Belichick appears Mufasa-style in the clouds above Matt Patricia, prompting him to inexplicably call for the team to take a knee on their own 1-yard line, scoring a safety for the Vikings. Adam Thielen scores on the ensuing drive when the cornerback tailing him accidentally breaks a pocket mirror, causing him seven years bad luck. The Vikings win it when the Lions punt returner trips over his own misfortune and fumbles.
Final score: Vikings 30, Lions 28