The Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings have gone in opposite directions since their last meeting in October, and the trend continued in Sunday's NFC North rematch, with Mike Zimmer's squad taking advantage of Detroit's slide and cruising to a 20-7 victory to improve to 9-4 and keep pace with the Green Bay Packers in the postseason picture.
Keeping things close through the first 15 minutes of action, the Lions limited Vikings QB Kirk Cousins to just 57 yards through the air in the opening quarter, surrendering an acrobatic Bisi Johnson touchdown grab, only on the drive they lost key starters Darius Slay and Jarrad Davis to injuries on back-to-back plays.
But the Vikings did their best to keep undrafted rookie starter David Blough in check from then on, stalling several drives with a trio of Danielle Hunter sacks, including one that got all the way inside the red zone, then snagging a deep-ball interception in the third and closing the game with an end-zone interception.
Cousins' connection with Stefon Diggs (86 first-half yards) got the Vikings offense into a rhythm as the clock wound down on the second quarter, and Minnesota needed just 46 seconds to go 65 yards for an insurance touchdown before halftime, going up 17-0 when Dalvin Cook, who came in with a chest/shoulder injury, scored around the edge untouched. More Cousins efficiency helped the Vikings extend their lead to 20 early in the final quarter.
Relive the entire NFC North showdown below, and check back momentarily for takeaways from the game.