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The Minnesota Vikings will head on the road to Gillette Stadium on Sunday afternoon for their Week 13 matchup against the New England Patriots.
New England has put on a Jekyll-and-Hyde act on so far this season, but don’t count out Tom Brady and company during the postseason. While they have looked dominant at times this season, all three of their losses came by double-digits against inferior competition. Even so, the Pats remain Super Bowl contenders and this week’s game against the Vikings will be a litmus test of sorts to determine whether New England is true championship contender this year.
Vikings beat Packers, remain in NFC playoff picture
The Vikings won a pivotal game last week at home against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. Kirk Cousins bounced back from arguably his worst game of the season to throw for 342 yards and three touchdowns without committing a turnover, while Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs caught eight balls apiece in the victory. Thielen finished with 125 yards and a score and Diggs added 77 yards to go along with a touchdown as well. Thielen is now second in the NFL in receiving yardage with 1138 yards for the season and seems to be closing in on another 100-catch campaign.
Diggs and top cornerback Xavier Rhodes did not practice this week after suffering injuries in the win over the Packers. Rhodes has a good chance to play, while Diggs should be able to give it a go after sitting out practice and playing last week, but it would be a good idea to check on their status before kickoff on Sunday.
Minnesota enters their Week 13 matchup scoring 24.1 points per game and allowing 22.4 points per game on the defensive side of the ball. The Vikings have yet to get their run game going this year, averaging just 85.3 rush yards per game this season. Instead, they’ve relied on Cousins, who leads the NFL in pass completions and is fifth in passing yardage so far this year. The Vikings are averaging 384.3 yards of total offense and surrendering just 337.8 on the other side of the ball, thanks to a run defense that has limited opposing teams to just 93.6 yards per game on the ground.
Patriots getting healthy at the right time
The Patriots rebounded from their blowout loss against the Tennessee Titans to defeat the New York Jets 27-13 on the road last week. Sony Michel carried the load on offense, finishing with a season-high 133 rush yards and a touchdown, as they Patriots ran for 215 yards as a team to come away with the win. Tom Brady threw for 283 yards and two touchdown passes to become the NFL’s career leader in total yards passing in the regular season and playoffs combined. The win brought the Pats to 8-3 on the season, clinching their 18th straight season of finishing .500 or better, which is tied for the second-best mark in NFL history.
The Patriots’ offense continues to get healthy at the right time, as Rob Gronkowski played a season-high 69 of 70 snaps last week in the win over the Titans. The team has also fully-integrated mid-season acquisition Josh Gordon, who has played 67.6 percent of the team’s snaps over the past six games, while finishing with at least four receptions in every contest during that span. This will be Gordon’s first taste of meaningful football in December after being stuck on the Browns for the better part of his career. This game also features receiver Cordarrelle Patterson’s return to Minnesota after he was drafted by the Vikings in the first round of the 2013 draft. Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer recently admitted that the Pats are using Patterson “way better” than he did while the receiver was in Minnesota.
New England comes into the week scoring 27.9 points per game and averaging 398.3 yards of total offense per game. With Brady at age 41, the Patriots have followed a much more balanced game plan this season, as the presence of Michel as helped them run for 118.2 yards per game this year. On defense, the Pats are allowing 22.6 points per game and 389.2 yards of total offense per contest.
- Patriots are 3-9 ATS in their last 12 games in Week 13.
- Road team is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 meetings.
- Vikings are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games in Week 13.
- Vikings are 19-7 ATS in their last 26 games in December