Vikings vs Patriots – NFL Picks and Parlays 12/2/18
Both the Minnesota Vikings and New England Patriots look like they are going to end up in the playoffs this season, as they are both firmly entrenched in postseason positions at this point in the year. But a few losses could change that trajectory, as both teams will look to strengthen their grip on a playoff spot in this massive matchup.
New England the edge at the quarterback position, but can they use it to defeat one of the best defenses in the NFL?
The Vikings average 5.7 yards per play on offense, putting them in a tie for 15th in the league along with the Cincinnati Bengals. In case you were wondering what mediocrity sounded like, “tied for 15th place with the Cincinnati Bengals” embodies it better than any phrase ever could. The Vikings are also 16th in the league in scoring at 24.1 points per game. They’ll need to play well here to keep up with Tom Brady and company.
Minnesota has struggled on the ground this year, sitting in a tie for 27th in the NFL with 3.9 yards per carry to their name on the season. Starting running back Dalvin Cook has been injured for much of the year, but he looked fresh and ready to go last week against the Packers, making a couple of big plays and scoring a long touchdown early in the contest. If he continues to look healthy in this game, it would be a big boost for the Vikings.
Through the air, the Vikings are 15th in the NFL with an average of 7.0 yards per pass attempt. New England is great at taking away what opposing teams do best, and it will be interesting to see how they try and neutralize both Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen, both of whom would be number one wide receivers on most teams in the league today.
On defense, the Vikings are tied for fourth in the league by allowing 5.1 yards per play to their opponents. Trying to defend Tom Brady is like trying to defend against Father Time, in that it never works out and often requires surgery afterward, but the Vikings do a good job of getting pressure on the quarterback, which is the recipe to beat Brady and the Patriots historically.
Mike Zimmer’s run defense is especially stingy, giving up 3.7 yards per carry, which has them in a tie for third in the league entering week 13. Now that the Patriots have found a true running back in Sony Michel, this facet of the Vikings defense is especially valuable.
Against the pass, the Vikings are tied for eighth in the league by allowing 6.8 yards per pass attempt. But star cornerback Xavier Rhodes might miss this game due to injury, which would be a huge loss against a team with as many weapons in the passing game as the Patriots.
Patriots Week 13 Outlook
The Patriots are tied for 11th in the NFL in yards per play this season, averaging 5.8 yards per offensive snap, and top-ten in scoring offense for the year, putting up 27.9 points per game. Tom Brady may end up doing this until he’s 90 years old, as the offense continues to show few signs of slowing down if any.
On the ground, the Patriots are tied for 20th in the league at 4.2 yards per carry. That puts them in a tie with the Oakland Raiders and New York Jets, among others, to illustrate how subpar the Patriots have been running the football. And against an elite defensive front like that of the Vikings, they will need to get creative if they are going to move the ball effectively on the ground. Expect Bill Belichick to try to use former Viking Cordarrelle Patterson against his old team with misdirection plays.
Fortunately for the Patriots, Tom Brady is there to make up for their poor running game. The Patriots are tenth in the league with an average of 7.3 yards per pass attempt. And with a healthy Rob Gronkowski finally back in addition to their other weapons, the rest of the league should be very afraid.
Defensively, the Patriots are allowing 5.7 yards per play, putting them in 16th in the league in that category. Bill Belichick’s team is tied for 14th in run defense, giving up 4.4 yards per carry. Against the pass, the Patriots are tied for eighth in the league at 6.8 yards per attempt allowed. Accounting for Diggs and Thielen won’t be easy, but if there is one coach who can do it, it’s Belichick.
Vikings vs. Patriots Trends
The Vikings come into this game at 6-4 on the season both straight up and against the spread. December has been a great month for the Vikings, as Minnesota has gone 19-7 against the spread in their last 26 games in December. Apparently Vikings and cold weather go together well. But the Vikings are just 1-6 against the spread in their last seven games against teams with winning records, which is a concern here.
New England, meanwhile, is 8-3 straight up this year, and 7-4 against the spread. December has also been good to the Patriots, who have gone 8-1 against the spread in their last nine games. The Patriots don’t have the same issues against teams with winning records as the Vikings, as they are 17-7 against the spread against teams with winning records.