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The NFC North will see a battle in the state of Minnesota on NFL Sunday with the Detroit Lions taking on the Minnesota Vikings. The game is scheduled for a 1:00 pm start time and it will be televised live on FOX. Currently the odds for the game have Detroit favored by a field goal on the road.

We have some interesting story lines set for today's game between the Lions and the Vikings. First off, the Vikings were able to go to Ford Field in the early part of the season and pick up a close win over the Lions, spoiling a home game. Now, the tables are a bit turned as the Lions come into Minneapolis and are actually favored by a field goal.

Add to that arguably the best all-around player on Minnesota's team, Percy Harvin, has been listed as out by ESPN's Adam Schefter. Both of those could prove to be a major impact on today's game.

When looking at these two teams, we see them heading in opposite directions, really. Matthew Stafford and the Lions have gotten much better offensively in the past few weeks, averaging more than 29 points per game in their last two wins, including a 28-24 win over the Seattle Seahawks two weeks ago.

The Vikings have been abused in the last four weeks, winning just one of four games. They've suffered losses to Tampa Bay, Seattle and Washington and lost by double digits to all three of those teams.

Remember, the Vikings didn't exactly play well offensively against Detroit in the team's first matchup. The Lions defense held them to just six points and 230 yards of total offense. However, Detroit did give up two special teams touchdowns, which they seem to have done a better job at the past few weeks.

Detroit seems to have found a running game as well with Mikel LeShoure scoring three times last week. The Lions are running the ball more effectively the past few weeks and it even seems as if they are actually trying to run the ball in key situations. That alone will make the passing attack that much better as teams won't have to just play against the pass.

Calvin Johnson still hasn't caught a TD pass from Stafford, but the Lions have gotten better at the receiver position with Titus Young and Ryan Broyles stepping up. Both have caught touchdown passes the past few weeks and soon will attract some of the defenders that are always glued to Johnson.

Plus, how can anyone back the Vikings right now? Christian Ponder has completed just 38 of his 74 passes in the team's last three games and thrown six interceptions in the team's last four games. He started the year well but really is struggling at this point int he season.

We're expecting a big game from the Lions today, looking to get to 5-4 on the season and continuing to climb in the NFC North standings. We think they are a better overall team than Minnesota is and today they're going to show that by playing well on both sides of the football.

Free Pick: Detroit 31, Minnesota 14

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