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NFL Expert Picks: Experts Split on Vikings-Lions 

The Vikings (4-2) will head back on the road to take on the Detroit Lions (2-2-1) at noon (CT) Sunday at Ford Field.

Let's see who the experts are picking to win the game:

Vikings 24, Lions 22—Gregg Rosenthal, NFL.com

The Lions' defense under Matt Patricia is increasingly reminding me of the Patriots' defense under Matt Patricia. Those units played good situational football, especially in the red zone. They were smart and were able to change depending on the opponent. They also didn't have much of a pass rush and never threatened to be a top-five unit, relying on their offense to win games. While this Detroit team has been unlucky, so far the Lions have played just well enough to get their hearts broken against quality competition like the Chiefs and Packers. They face a Vikings team Sunday that is more talented than the Lions on both sides of the ball. Patricia needs more than moral victories, or Detroit risks falling out of the crowded NFC North race.

Lions 26, Vikings 21—Pete Prisco, CBS Sports

The Lions are coming off a tough loss against the Packers and will be playing on a short week. The Vikings, and especially Kirk Cousins, were impressive last week. But I don't think that carries over here. I think the Lions being back home helps get them back on track.

Vikings 24, Lions 17—Tadd Haislop, Sporting News

Whether Kirk Cousins is or is not the "weakest" part of the Vikings' offense is irrelevant when the entire unit clicks the way it did last week against the Eagles. On the other side of the ball, Minnesota's defense is quietly rising, now sixth in the NFL with just 15.5 points allowed per game. That combination will be too much for a Lions team still trying to establish itself as a contender in the division.

Vikings 31, Lions 24—Michael David Smith, Pro Football Talk

The Lions suffered a heartbreaking loss on Monday night, and that kind of game is hard to come back from. A loss here drops them far down in the NFC North race.

Lions 24, Vikings 21—Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk

This is precisely the kind of game that it seems like the Vikings and Kirk Cousins will win, and that they then will find a way to lose it.

Vikings 24, Lions 21—Staff, Bleacher Report

The talented and expensive Minnesota Vikings roster has generally underachieved throughout quarterback Kirk Cousins' time in Minnesota, but there's some evidence the team is turning a corner. Minnesota has won back-to-back games in blowout fashion, with Cousins posting six touchdowns to one interception and a 142.5 passer rating in those outings.

Now they're laying just a point and a half against a Detroit Lions team that is likely tired and dejected following a nightmarish experience Monday night against the Packers in Green Bay.

The majority of our experts are willing to bet the Vikes can make it three wins in a row Sunday at a site in which they beat the Lions 27-9 last December.

"Cousins isn't Aaron Rodgers, but the Vikings also have far superior wide receivers compared to the offense Detroit faced Monday night," Brent Sobleski said. "Minnesota is riding high after discovering how to properly utilize those targets. Cousins should continue to push the ball downfield, with Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen being the biggest beneficiaries of a well-rounded Minnesota offense."

But Brad Gagnon isn't on board. He figures the Lions will be desperate and fired up after getting robbed on Monday Night Football, and he doesn't trust the infamously inconsistent Cousins.

"The Lions would be unbeaten right now if not for some really tough breaks against Kansas City and Green Bay," he said. "The football gods should be with them at home against an unreliable Vikings team that hasn't covered the spread in three straight games since Cousins took over last year."

So, tread carefully.

Win Percentage: 45.9%, Average Score: Lions 24.1, Vikings 22.5—FOX Sports

FiveThirtyEight's 2015 NFL forecast uses an Elo-based model to calculate each team's chances of advancing to the playoffs and winning Super Bowl 50. Playoff probabilities are based on 20,000 simulations of the season and will update after each game.

Pre-game win probabilities: Vikings 57%— FiveThirtyEight.com

5 of 8 experts pick the Vikings, CBS Sports

1 of 7 experts pick the Vikings, USA TODAY Sports

3 of 10 experts pick the Vikings, SB Nation

5 of 10 experts pick the Vikings, ESPN

3 of 6 experts pick the Vikings, The MMQB

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