Lions Den: Did someone say first place?

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The Detroit Lions (7-4) won yet another close game, defeating the Minnesota Vikings (6-5) by a final score of 16-13 on Thursday afternoon at Ford Field.

Detroit was down 13-10 before embarking on a 10 play, 68-yard drive to tie the game at 13. Just three plays into Minnesota’s next drive, Vikings quarterback Sam Bradford was intercepted by Lions cornerback Darius Slay with 30 seconds left, setting the Lions up at the Minnesota 20-yard line. The interception would set up Lions kicker Matt Prater for the game-winning 40-yard field goal.

Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford continued his MVP type season, throwing for 232 yards and a touchdown. Stafford was able to buy time in the pocket, allowing him to find open receivers down the field. The win puts Detroit in a favorable position to win the NFC North.

Detroit came into the game as one of the worst rushing teams in the league, but they were able to find some holes against the Vikings defense. The Lions finished the game with 94 rushing yards on 19 carries. Theo Riddick led all rushers with 45 yards on nine carries. Stafford was also able escape pressure and rush for 30 yards on four carries.

Lions receivers were able to find holes in the tough Vikings defense throughout the day. Marvin Jones, Golden Tate and Anquan Boldin combined for 16 catches for 200 yards and a touchdown. Boldin caught a 2-yard touchdown pass on the first drive of the game to get the offense started. Boldin has become a consistent red zone option for Stafford, catching two red zone touchdowns over the past three games.

Detroit’s defense was clutch for the second straight week, intercepting Bradford with 30 seconds left in the game. Slay read Bradford’s eyes and stepped in front of Vikings receiver Adam Thielen for the interception. Bradford finished the game with 224 yards and an interception.

The Lions were able to hold the Vikings’ top two rushers to 58 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries. Detroit’s rushing defense was middle of the road coming into this game, but should move up after a strong performance on Thursday afternoon.

Vikings receivers had a hard time getting down the field on the Lions because of the defensive scheme the Lions run. Detroit doesn’t like to allow deep passes so Bradford was able to complete 84 percent of his passes against the Lions, but only one pass went for longer than 25 yards. Detroit now has three interceptions and a touchdown over the past two games, and will look to build on those performances next week.

Detroit will travel to New Orleans to take on the Saints next Sunday at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome at 1 p.m. on Fox.

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