The Minnesota Vikings may have been speculated as sellers ahead of the 2020 NFL trade deadline, but now that the cutoff has come and gone and the team is fresh off an upset of the NFC North-leading Green Bay Packers, there could be renewed optimism in the Midwest. It helps that the rival Detroit Lions are coming to town on Sunday, not just because the Vikings have won five straight against them or because the Lions are only a week removed from collapsing against the Indianapolis Colts, but because Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford is at least a question mark for the two sides’ Week 9 matchup.

As of now, Stafford is set to play, but he can’t return to the team until Sunday, the day of the matchup, because of close contact with a COVID-19 infection; and there’s still a chance the QB could test positive until then. Regardless, are the Vikings due to fall back to Earth after their surprise win over Green Bay? Or is this setting up to be a huge day for Minnesota? We’ll find out soon enough. In the meantime, here’s everything you need to know to prepare yourself for this NFC North battle:

How to watch

Date: Sunday, Nov. 8 | Time: 1 p.m. ET
Location: U.S. Bank Stadium (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
TV:
CBS | Stream: CBS All Access
Follow: CBS Sports App

Prediction

A few weeks ago, this might’ve seemed like an easy Lions win, regardless of the rivals’ recent history. Now, Detroit will either be banking on Matthew Stafford entering the game cold or, worse, turning to backup Chase Daniel, with No. 1 receiver Kenny Golladay already unlikely to play due to injury. Can Stafford and/or Daniel pick on Minnesota’s secondary? Absolutely. The Vikings remain one of the NFL’s worst defenses, and this could be a spot where any one of Marvin Jones, T.J. Hockenson or Marvin Hall breaks out.

But here’s the deal: The Vikings will be at home, Mike Zimmer just doesn’t lose to these guys, and most importantly, Detroit’s run defense is in the bottom half of the league. That bodes big trouble considering how much Minnesota has leaned on Dalvin Cook and the ground game lately. If Kirk Cousins only throws a dozen passes, that’s good news for the Vikings. And the way this game is set up, that might actually be possible. It won’t necessarily be pretty, but it smells like a Minnesota victory to even up the North.

Pick: Vikings 24, Lions 21

Check out CBSSports.com for even more expert predictions on this game and the rest of Week 9.

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