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Detroit Lions

Lions, a familiar opponent, pose a unique challenge

Sunday will mark the 115th meeting all-time between the Vikings and Lions. It will be Mike Zimmer’s 10th time facing Detroit as head coach of the Vikings. It will be Matthew Stafford’s 18th game against the Vikings. Suffice it to say, this is a familiar matchup for both sides.

But the circumstances surrounding this Week 16 meeting have created an aura of unpredictability around the Lions. With two games to go, the Lions are eliminated from postseason contention and they are dealing with several starters missing this week’s game. That has led to speculation about what Detroit may try to do schematically that will be different than if they were still contending for a playoff berth.

“I mean they could throw a bunch of reverse passes and halfback passes, things like that,” Zimmer acknowledged. “But we just have to go out and play, and if we’re reading our keys and doing the things that we’re supposed to do, we should be good. It could be a bunch of zero blitzes, who knows. It’s important that we’re on point with everything. Typically that gets back to focusing on your key and where you go from there.”

In listening to Zimmer and his coordinators this week, one this is clear: the Vikings, who are full tilt to win out and qualify for the playoffs, will not be overlooking this five-win Lions team.

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