TOP 5 PASSING MATCHUPS WEEK 17
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Minnesota at Detroit
The Vikings have shown that while Cousins is a middle of the road quarterback, he is certainly good enough to be productive. Cousins has closed 2020 strongly, throwing for 290+ yards and multiple touchdowns in five of his last seven games. That’s pretty much his weekly ceiling - this remains a run-dominant offense - but the Vikings’ big-play outlook is always strong. Adam Thielen remains a rock-solid target, though it’s rookie Justin Jefferson that’s emerged as the most dynamic option. Over the past seven weeks, he’s turned a 26% target share into 91 yards a game, and on Christmas, he drew heavy shadow coverage from the Saints’ Marshon Lattimore. The rookie went ahead and caught 6 balls for 85 yards anyway. Week 17’s opponent is much softer and less prohibitive, so there’s high-octane potential for this attack as they close out the season.
The Lions were simply overwhelmed by the Buccaneers last Saturday, giving up 491 yards and 6 touchdowns through the air, 340 of which were in the first half. It was bad, but far from their first collapse of the 2020 season. They’ve now given up more yards and touchdowns per attempt than anyone in football, with even the likes of Mitchell Trubisky and Blaine Gabbert getting in on the fun. Devastated by injuries to their rebuilt secondary - and atrocious play from their reserves - this unit hasn’t put up much resistance at all over the past two months. It’s mostly veteran retreads and special-teams types at cornerback now, with free-agent prize Desmond Trufant and top pick Jeff Okudah both on the shelf. What’s worse, there’s almost no pass rush pushing the issue up front, so a lot is asked of that patchwork group down the field. Big-play wideouts Mike Evans (10 for 181 and 2 scores), Corey Davis (4 for 110 and 1), Davante Adams (7 for 115 and 1), Will Fuller V (6 for 171 and 2), and D.J. Moore (7 for 127) have all erupted in this matchup down the 2020 stretch. There’s little reason to bet against Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen doing so in the finale.