Each week, BringMeTheNews will analyze the Vikings’ upcoming game from both sides, and give you “5 reasons the Vikings will win.” This week the Vikings travel to Detroit to play the Lions.
If this is too positive for you, try reading Five reasons the Vikings should be concerned about the Lions.
5. Teddy Take Two
The last time rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater faced the Lions he was sacked eight times and threw three interceptions. The difference between this meeting and the first is Bridgewater's confidence. It's much higher now; he's thrown all 10 of his touchdown passes since that Oct. 12 game.
"I feel very confident," Bridgewater said Wednesday, according to the Pioneer Press. "Each week this offense has been playing better, each week we've gained more and more confidence playing with eachother."
4. More Ben for their Buck
Ben Tate has been a Viking since Nov. 19, but he has just eight carries for 30 yards in two games since. That could change this week.
Matt Asiata has been the main ball carrier since Adrian Peterson was suspended, and in last week's game against the Jets Asiata averaged just 2.8 yards per carry. Head coach Mike Zimmer, according to 1500 ESPN, plans to give Tate more action this week. Joe Banyard will probably get more carries, too.
Tate wasn't good with the Browns this season, but he has shown the ability to run effectively in the past.
3. No Suh For You
Minnesota will go into the game most likely without three of their original starting offensive linemen. Charlie Johnson didn't practice Friday because of an ankle injury and Phil Loadholt and Brandon Fusco are out for the season with torn pectoral muscles. That leaves center John Sullivan next to a pair of backup guards.
The good news for Sullivan is that he might not have to block Ndamukong Suh. Suh, one of the premier nose tackles in the NFL, isn't a lock to play on Sunday because he's battling the flu, the Detroit Free Press reports.
2. Lions Always Find Ways to Lose
They are the definition of a lovable loser. The Lions have been to the playoffs just once (2011) since 1999. With a record of 9-4 the Lions currently sit in the sixth and final spot in the NFC playoff picture. The Lions can win the NFC North if they sweep their final three games of the season against the Vikings, Bears and Packers; but if they lose two of the three their playoff hopes will be very questionable in the ultra-competitive NFC.
1. Rhodes Closed to Megatron
Xavier Rhodes probably won't be asked to shadow Lions superstar wide receiver Calvin Johnson, but whether he matched up against Johnson or Golden Tate may not matter. The Rhodes might be closed.
That's the way they've been of late. Pro Football Focus' Sam Monson analyzed Rhodes' game and says the second-year defensive back is playing at the same level as two of the best corners in the game – Richard Sherman of the Seahawks and Darrelle Revis of the Patriots.
Rhodes if ranked 15th in PFF's cornerback ratings for the season, but only Revis has been better the past four weeks. The man they call Megatron might have his work cut out for him.