The Detroit Lions have emerged as a standout story in the NFL this season, holding a 7-2 record as they approach their Week 11 home game against the Chicago Bears. In the race for supremacy, their main contenders seem to be the Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers rather than the Minnesota Vikings.
Looking at their upcoming schedule, the Lions appear to have a favorable path with five games where they are likely to be the favorites. They will face the Packers, Saints, Broncos, and Bears again before their final three games of the season.
Presently, the Lions hold a 1 ½ game lead in the NFC North over the Vikings (6-4), who have won five consecutive games after an 0-3 start. Notably, the last two wins came with quarterback Josh Dobbs, who, despite minimal knowledge of the Minnesota playbook, delivered in a somewhat heroic manner.
As the Vikings gear up for their upcoming challenges, including a Week 15 game against the Bengals, their schedule appears slightly more challenging than that of the Lions. The Vikings have a chance to contend for the division title, especially considering they face the Lions twice in the final three weeks of the season. Winning both meetings could give them a tiebreaker edge, based on a 2-0 record in head-to-head matchups with Detroit.
Despite the potential for the Vikings to seize the division title, they face a significant challenge, especially against a resurgent Denver Broncos team that has won three consecutive games, including victories over the Chiefs and Bills. The return of All-Pro wideout Justin Jefferson could be a boost for the Vikings, as he has been practicing for two weeks and expresses a strong desire to get back on the field.
While there is optimism about Jefferson’s return against the Broncos, the decision ultimately rests on his assessment of his hamstring and overall physical condition. The final verdict may not be made until 90 minutes before the team’s kickoff on Sunday, emphasizing the uncertainty surrounding Jefferson’s participation.