Detroit Lions cornerback Justin Coleman (27) celebrates an interception against the Green Bay Packers with teammates Darius Slay (23) and Will Harris (25) during the second half of an NFL football game Monday, Oct. 14, 2019, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)
Detroit Lions wide receiver Kenny Golladay (19) makes a leaping catch while covered by Green Bay Packers cornerback Kevin King, right, during the second half of an NFL football game Monday, Oct. 14, 2019, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)
Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford throws a pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers, Monday, Oct. 14, 2019, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz, left, throws a pass as he is pressured by Minnesota Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter (99) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)
Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook scores on a 1-yard touchdown run ahead of Philadelphia Eagles inside linebacker Zach Brown, left, during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)
Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs (14) runs from Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Rasul Douglas (32) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
DETROIT (AP) The Detroit Lions are thankful they have a short week to prepare to play Minnesota in a possibly pivotal NFC North matchup.
A quick turnaround gave the Lions less time to lament critical calls that didn't go their way on Monday night in a loss at Green Bay.
''It's kind of a blessing in disguise because we don't have time to think about anything but Minnesota,'' Lions center Frank Ragnow said. ''And, the Vikings are really good - especially on defense.''
The Vikings (4-2) have won two in a row, leaning on one of the NFL's best defenses and an offense that is starting to perform up to its potential.
Minnesota has averaged 33 points the past two weeks with a grinding running game led by Dalvin Cook that helps Kirk Cousins make big plays through the air. After a slow start, Cousins had six touchdown passes and one interception in wins over Philadelphia and the New York Giants.
''That team is on fire right now,'' Lions coach Matt Patricia said.
Detroit (2-2-1) has dropped two straight after an unbeaten, three-game start because it failed to keep double-digit leads against the Packers and Kansas City Chiefs.
''You can't let it stick around in your head because there's a long season left,'' Flowers said.
If the Lions don't win Sunday at home, though, their chances to contend in the competitive division will take a hit.
Minnesota, meanwhile, wants to avoid starting 0-3 in the NFC North after playing its first three division games as visitors.
''We get them all at home at the end, so it all evens out,'' Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said.
Here are some things to watch when the Lions face the Vikings:
STACKS OF SACKS
Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter leads the league with eight tackles for losses. He set an NFL record with a sack against the Eagles that gave him 46 for his career, the most in history by a player younger than 25. Hunter has two more games before his birthday, and the Lions have provided him plenty of pass-rushing opportunities in the past. Hunter has seven sacks in six games against them, plus three fumble recoveries and one he returned for a 32-yard touchdown.
The Lions lost to the Packers at least in part because they scored only one touchdown and had to settle for Matt Prater's five field goals. That followed a trend.
In goal-to-go situations, Detroit ranks 30th in the NFL with four touchdowns in nine chances.
''That's not good enough,'' quarterback Matthew Stafford acknowledged.
Inside the 20, Detroit has gotten into the end zone on half of its 16 opportunities to rank among the bottom third of the league.
The problem may be ominous for the Lions because they were relegated to scoring only on field goals in two losses to Minnesota last year.
Stafford is 87 yards passing from setting a record for the fewest games to reach the 40,000-yard mark. Matt Ryan reached that number in 151 games, five more than Stafford has played.
''When you step back and look at stuff like that, I think it's just pretty amazing,'' Patricia said.
Stafford has bounced back from a lackluster year with a solid season so far as the league's ninth-ranked passer. He has thrown nine touchdown passes and two interceptions, both coming in a Week 2 win over the Los Angeles Chargers.
''Stafford is playing outstanding, maybe the best I've ever seen him,'' Zimmer said. ''He's throwing the ball into a lot of tight windows. He's pulling the trigger. He's still scrambling.''
Though Minnesota hasn't been stung by questionable late-game calls quite like Detroit was at Green Bay, penalties have been an uncharacteristic problem for the team.
The Vikings had four penalties for 30 yards against them in their win over the Eagles last week, both season lows for a team that has been charged with the third-most penalty yardage in the league (456) and irritated its discipline-driven coach in the process.
Arizona Cardinals kicker Zane Gonzalez was 2-for-2 in field goals and 2-for-3 in extra points against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 11. Gonzalez has been strong the last few weeks, but he'll be on a bye next week. He's probably not worth stashing in traditional formats to get through it.
Arizona Cardinals linebacker Chandler Jones recorded four tackles (three solo) in Week 11, and he extended his sack streak to three consecutive games. Jones has 11.5 sacks on the season and has reached the quarterback in all but two games. The Cardinals are off next week and will face the Los Angeles Rams Dec. 1.
Arizona Cardinals linebacker Jordan Hicks had 12 tackles (eight solo), a sack, an interception and a pass defended against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 11. Hicks has been effective, but he hasn't quite reached LB1 status. He'll be in the mix for a flex play when the Cardinals return to play Dec. 1, against the Los Angeles Rams.
Arizona Cardinals safety Budda Baker had 13 tackles (12 solo) against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 11. It's the third time in four games he has had 13 or more tackles as Baker has risen up the DB1 ranks in fantasy. The Cardinals will be off next week before they take on the Los Angeles Rams Dec. 1.
New Orleans Saints wide receiver produced more of his usual excellence in a 34-17 Week 11 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The All-Pro receiver tagged the Bucs secondary with eight catches on 11 targets for 114 yards and a touchdown. Thomas is the first player in NFL history to catch 90+ passes through the first 10 games of a season. As the number-one target on a team with less-than-stellar secondary wide receivers, Thomas should continue to eat. He'll square off with the Carolina Panthers in Week 12.
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray went 24-for-33 for 150 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions and rushed for a score in the 36-26 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in Week 11. He rushed eight times for 67 yards. It was a great performance considering it was against one of, if not the best defense in the league. Murray has now played two solid games against them, which is an outstanding sign for his development. He has established himself as a QB1, and he should be stashed through his bye next week.
Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson received no carries or targets in Week 11. That could go down as one of the biggest surprises all week. Johnson had been battling an ankle injury, but he was taken off the injury report. Unless something comes out about him still being limited due to injury, he has taken a serious backseat to Kenyan Drake. Johnson should remain owned in all leagues, and if he's dropped by an owner, scoop him immediately. The Cardinals are on a bye next week, and more should be learned before then.
Arizona Cardinals running back Kenyan Drake rushed 16 times for 67 yards and caught six receptions for 13 yards in Week 11. He was kept out of the end zone, but it was a solid showing in point-per-reception leagues against one of the best defenses in football. Running back David Johnson didn't have a rush or a target in the game for a mysterious reason, but one thing is for sure. Drake has taken over as the lead back, and he'll be an RB2 option after the bye week against the Los Angeles Rams.
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Christian Kirk had six receptions for 41 yards in Week 11 against the San Francisco 49ers. His nine targets led the team. It was a rough matchup, but he still posted 10 points in point-per-reception leagues. Kirk will have the week off before facing the Los Angeles Rams Dec. 1. He'll remain a WR3 option.
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald had five catches for 37 yards and a touchdown in Week 11, but he also lost a fumble. The score was his first one since Week 3. Fitzgerald has been catching just enough to be worth using in point-per-reception formats, but his yardage and touchdowns haven't been up to snuff. He'll remain a flex option after the bye week.
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Andy Isabella had just one catch for six yards in Week 11 against the San Francisco 49ers. Isabella flirted with fantasy relevance with big plays in recent weeks, but he didn't quite make it. The Cardinals are on a bye next week, and Isabella doesn't have roster viability.
New Orleans Saints running back Latavius Murray struggled to make an impact in Week 11 against the stingy run defense of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The 29-year-old posted 10 carries for 27 yards and two catches for five yards. Murray's physical, ground-and-pound style wasn't as successful against this defense as Alvin Kamara's elusive, scat-back style. The seventh-year veteran was out-touched by Kamara in this game 23-12. The positive for Murray is he'll likely be locked into around 10-12 touches each game, giving him flex value depending upon the matchup. Next week against the Carolina Panthers looks like a good one, as they've surrendered the fourth-most fantasy points to running backs this year.
Cincinnati Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert caught three of his four targets for 21 yards in Week 11 against the Raiders. The Bengals managed to move the ball well on the ground in the game, but quarterback Ryan Finley struggled mightily through the air, completing just 13 passes. Eifert has some value in deep leagues but Finley's inexperience and struggles make him hard to trust as a starter for now. Eifert has failed to top 25 receiving yards in five of his past six games, which is a very uninspiring trend.
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tyler Boyd was a complete non-factor in Week 11 against the Raiders. He had just one catch in the game but he failed to gain any yards on it. His only positive yardage came on a 10-yard rush, his only rushing attempt in the game. Bengals quarterback Ryan Finley completed only 13 passes in the game, so it's no surprise that Boyd wasn't able to come through with a decent game. Boyd had been mostly consistent all year until this game, so hopefully he can bounce back against the Steelers in Week 12.
Oakland Raiders wide receiver Hunter Renfrow caught five passes for 66 yards as the team edged the Bengals 17-10 in their home victory. The Clemson product finished only one behind Darren Waller in targets with six as he recorded his fourth-straight game with four or more catches. Renfrow has emerged as a favored target for Derek Carr, and is starting to produce a safe floor in PPR formats. His ceiling is capped, however, as the third passing option on a team that chooses to run the ball nearly 50% of the time. Renfrow is an intriguing dynasty stash but is a WR4 at best in PPR redraft leagues. He'll look to continue his solid production next week when the Raiders travel to face the Jets
Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon was the lone bright spot in an otherwise dreadful offensive showing for the Bengals in Week 11. Mixon carried the ball 15 times for 86 yards and a touchdown and added a 17-yard reception for his only catch of the day. This was one of Mixon's better performances of the season as he'd only topped 80 rushing yards twice before this game. He has a tough matchup against the Steelers in Week 12, but is still worthy of an RB2 start or at least flex consideration in most leagues due to his workload alone.
Cincinnati Bengals running back Giovani Bernard carried the ball three times for 30 yards and added a 16-yard reception in Week 11. The Bengals managed 173 total rushing yards in the game, but most of it came from fellow running back Joe Mixon, while quarterback Ryan Finley also added 47 yards. Bernard is the clear No. 2 behind Mixon in the offense and would warrant some appeal if something were to happen to Mixon, but for now, Bernard can be left on the waiver wire.
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Auden Tate led the Bengals in receiving in Week 11, catching four of his six targets for 56 yards. Tate has now topped 50 receiving yards in four of his past five games. Tate was fortunate that his line ended up decent on a day where quarterback Ryan Finley completed just 13-of-31 passes for 115 yards. No other Bengal had more than 21 receiving yards. Tate is a viable WR3 or flex option most weeks and is worth rostering in all leagues of 12 or more teams.
The Patriots Defense might not have single-handedly carried your team this week as they've done in previous weeks, but they still managed to have a solid fantasy day against the Eagles in Week 11. The Patriots held the Eagles to 10 points in the game while recovering a fumble and sacking Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz five times. The Ravens have been the only team to eclipse 14 points against the Patriots, who will look to keep things rolling against the Cowboys in Week 12.
New England Patriots kicker Nick Folk hit all three of his field goal attempts in Week 12 against the Eagles. He wasn't heavily challenged in the game as none of his attempts were longer than 39 yards. Folk is now a perfect 5-for-5 in two games with the Patriots. He should be owned in all leagues and counted on as a reliable starter until further notice.