Lions at Vikings Week 9: 3 things we learned

The Detroit Lions defeated the Minnesota Vikings on the road in overtime, 22-16. Here are the three biggest takeaways from this Sunday afternoon game.

The 2016 Detroit Lions have to be the incarnation of the Kardiac Kids from yesteryear. Detroit knocked off the NFC North rival Minnesota Vikings on the road in overtime in Week 9, 22-16. The Lions rise to 5-4 on the season, while the Vikings sink to 5-3 after a 5-0 start.

Here are the three biggest takeaways from the Lions’ upset win over the Vikings in overtime.

1. Detroit might be a playoff team.

The Lions are not a sexy team in the NFC, but they find ways to win close ball games. They only play in close ball games, as all nine of the Lions’ games this season have been decided by seven points or fewer.

Yet, Detroit has shown that it can hang with anybody, no matter the venue or matchup. This makes the Lions an absolutely terrifying team to go up against. An opponent has to play buttoned-up football or the Lions will take complete advantage and win the tight ball game.

Many project that the NFC East will get one, maybe both of the NFC Wild Card berths. The other NFC division that is likely to get a Wild Card team in is the NFC North. It wouldn’t be shocking to see a 9-7, 10-6 Lions team get in over either the Vikings or the Green Bay Packers out of the NFC North this year.

2. Minnesota is collapsing in on itself.

The 2016 Vikings are collapsing in on themselves. Attrition and frankly poor offensive execution have sunk this team to 5-3 after its shiny 5-0 start. The Vikings haven’t won in over a month and wins may now be hard to come by for this football team.

Minnesota cannot get into rhythm on offense. The Vikings have not been able to run the football well all year. Now they can’t move the chains aerially with Sam Bradford at quarterback. The offensive play calling has him dinking and dunking instead of pushing the ball down the field.

Bradford is a former Heisman Trophy winner and a No. 1 overall draft pick. He has the arm talent to do more than bubble screens. He played well on Sunday, but his team otherwise failed him. Are we sure the Vikings are going to the NFC Playoffs anymore?

3. Matthew Stafford doesn’t have to play well to win.

Lions starting quarterback Matthew Stafford is without question a franchise quarterback. Yes, he has the best arm in football, but he’s more than that in 2016. Stafford has emerged as one of the best game-winning drive quarterbacks in recent NFL history.

He is able to compartmentalize anything bad that happened on previous drives to give the Lions a chance at winning games late. His poise under center in moments of crisis cannot go unnoticed. Stafford is no longer a garbage time quarterback, he is the real deal in the Motor City.

The best thing about him is that he can still win ball games without playing great football. His quarterback rating was hovering in the mid-60s before his last two drives to force overtime and to win it. Bradford outplayed him on Sunday, but Stafford and the Lions came away victorious anyway.

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