A season that held much promise as late as the second week of November will end quietly for the Detroit Lions, who will wrap up their season with a meaningless road game against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. The Lions led the NFC North with a 6-3 record following a narrow win over Chicago on Nov. 10, but they staggered down the stretch with five losses in their last six games. The future of coach Jim Schwartz is in doubt after Detroit blew fourth-quarter leads in its last five defeats.
Much like Schwartz, Vikings coach Leslie Frazier faces questions about his job status after seeing his team plummet to the cellar of the division after making a surprise run to the postseason a year ago. Minnesota did manage a tie at Green Bay but went winless away from home, including a season-opening 10-point loss in Detroit. It will mark the Vikings' final game at the Metrodome, which has been a house of horrors for the Lions - they are 1-14 there since 1997.
TV: 1 p.m. ET, Fox. LINE: Vikings -3. O/U: 52.
ABOUT THE LIONS (7-8): Quarterback Matt Stafford has multiple interceptions in four of the past five games - 11 overall - during the late-season swoon and saw another victory slip away last week when he threw a pick-six in the waning minutes of an eventual overtime home loss to the New York Giants.
"There are definitely throws that I wish I had back," Stafford said. "I feel like I've made some good plays, but the bottom line is winning and losing games."
Stud wide receiver Calvin Johnson was limited to part-time duty last week due to knee and ankle injuries, but needs eight yards to become the first receiver in league history to reach 1,500 yards in three consecutive seasons.
ABOUT THE VIKINGS (4-10-1): Minnesota has had a revolving door at quarterback with former first-round pick Christian Ponder battling injuries and ineffectiveness and early-season signee Josh Freeman failing to crack the lineup after one dismal effort. Matt Cassel, who will make his sixth start of the season, typifies the lack of consistency, amassing 382 yards in a 48-30 upset of Philadelphia on Dec. 15 before throwing three picks in last week's 42-14 drubbing in Cincinnati. Minnesota has also been hindered by injuries to star running back Adrian Peterson, who is third in the league in rushing with 1,266 yards but has played in two of the last three and managed only a combined 58 yards on 18 carries.
1. Stafford is 67 yards shy of reaching 4,500 for the third straight season.
2. Peterson has rushed for 769 yards and eight TDs in six home games versus Detroit.
3. The Vikings are allowing a league-worst 30.5 points per game and are 18 points away from yielding the highest total in franchise history.