Case Keenum Minnesota Vikings
Case Keenum carries out an American flag during player introductions before the game against the Los Angeles Rams on Nov. 19, 2017 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

A win for the Minnesota Vikings on Thanksgiving would all but secure them the NFC North title. A loss to the Detroit Lions Thursday would quickly create a two-team divisional race that could come down to the final week of the 2017 NFL season.

Minnesota would take a three-game lead with just five games to play with a victory, putting them in position to earn a possible first-round playoff bye. While Detroit would technically cut the Vikings’ lead to one game by winning at home, the Lions would essentially be a half-game behind their division rivals because they won the first head-to-head meeting with Minnesota.

That win came in Week 4 when Detroit escaped U.S. Bank Stadium with a 14-7 victory. The Lions held the Vikings scoreless in the second half, taking advantage of three lost fumbles by Minnesota.

You can expect a similar offensive performance from the Lions in Thursday's game. Minnesota held the Los Angeles Rams, who entered Week 11 as the NFL’s No.1 scoring team, to just seven points in their win Sunday.

The Vikings rank fifth in total defense and fourth in points allowed. They’ve given up more than 17 points just once during their six-game winning streak, and only two teams have scored 20 points or more against Minnesota all season long.

Harrison Smith might be the NFL’s best safety this season. Everson Griffen is tied for fourth in the league with 10 sacks, even after missing a game. Linebacker Eric Kendricks is one of 14 players with at least 75 tackles on the year.

Jared Goff had a 79.2 passer rating in Week 11, becoming the latest quarterback to struggle against the Vikings’ exceptional pass defense. Even as the Washington Redskins put up 30 points two weeks ago, Kirk Cousins was limited to one touchdown pass and a 78.7 passer rating.

Matthew Stafford threw for 209 yards with an 81.3 passer rating in Detroit’s win over Minnesota. The quarterback has posted a passer rating better than 88.0 against the Vikings just once in the last four years.

Detroit isn’t going to score much if Stafford doesn’t put up big numbers. They rank 30th in the league with 3.4 yards per carry. Ameer Abdullah is the team’s leading rusher, and he hasn’t posted more than 54 rushing yards in any of his last six games.

There’s reason to believe that Minnesota’s offense will be much better than it was in the team’s Oct. 1 loss to Detroit. The Vikings haven’t scored fewer than 20 points since that contest, and they rank fifth in the entire NFL with 372.5 yards of offense per game.

Much of the credit goes to Case Keenum, who’s been one of the most surprising quarterbacks in the league. He’s yet to give Mike Zimmer a reason to go to a now-healthy Teddy Bridgewater, putting up some impressive numbers since he replaced Sam Bradford as the team’s starter six weeks ago.

Keenum has a more than respectable 93.7 passer rating with 12 touchdowns and five interceptions. He’s completed 65.7 percent of his passes, utilizing one of the NFL’s best receiving corps.

Adam Thielen is second in the NFL with 916 yards in 2017. Thielen and Stefon Diggs make up the only pair of wide receivers that play for the same team and both rank in the top 20 in yards per game.

Detroit has stayed in the NFC North race by beating up on bad teams. The Lions’ three-game winning streak includes victories over the Aaron Rodgers-less Green Bay Packers, the winless Cleveland Browns and the last-place Chicago Bears. Aside from their win over Minnesota, the Lions haven’t beaten a team with a winning record.

The early betting odds have Minnesota favored by two points on the road, via OddsShark, and the over/under is 44.5. The Vikings might not have much trouble covering the point spread and locking up the division crown.

Prediction: Minnesota over Detroit, 23-16