NFL Sneak Peek – Week 2 – Patriots vs. Vikings

It seems a bit strange to feel strongly about a team that won five games last year playing well against a squad that went 12-4, but anecdotal evidence points strongly towards the Vikings. All five of the Vikings wins last year came at home and this will be their home opener at the University of Minnesota’s outdoor TCF Bank Stadium. Tickets are hard to get and the atmosphere will be festive. Meanwhile, the Pats were 4-4 on the road last season and 2-6 against the spread. Minnesota played 11 games that went over the total last season and the Patriots had nine overs.

It seems a bit strange to feel strongly about a team that won five games last year playing well against a squad that went 12-4, but anecdotal evidence points strongly towards the Vikings. All five of the Vikings wins last year came at home and this will be their home opener at the University of Minnesota’s outdoor TCF Bank Stadium. Tickets are hard to get and the atmosphere will be festive. Meanwhile, the Pats were 4-4 on the road last season and 2-6 against the spread. Minnesota played 11 games that went over the total last season and the Patriots had nine overs.

If the Vikings are going to have a decent season they need to survive a stretch over the first five weeks that sees them matched up with New England, New Orleans, and Green Bay, the later two on the road. Last season they began 1-7 relegating the rest of the season meaningless. That said, they beat Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit and tied Green Bay over the final six weeks of the year. Mike Zimmer replaced Leslie Frazier as Minnesota’s coach and the Vikings drafted Teddy Bridgewater to eventually get a shot at quarterback. While the running game was solid a year ago, Minnesota was second worst in the league stopping the pass. They gave up a league high 30 points a game, and finished the season -9 in turnover margin.

New England reached the AFC Title game last season falling at Denver 26-16. They were the second highest scoring team in the league and ranked among the top 10 in both passing and rushing yards. The Patriots had trouble stopping the run finishing ahead of only Atlanta and Chicago in rushing defense. New England was +9 in turnover margin, the third best mark among AFC teams. New England was 6-1 last year in games decided by a field goal or less.

In 2013 Minnesota faced the 13th best schedule in the league. Twelve of their 16 games featured at least 50 points scored. New England battled the 25th toughest slate. Eight of New England’s final 14 regular season games totaled 50 points or more. It bears repeating, the Vikings have Adrian Peterson and New England couldn’t stop the run last year. New England features Tom Brady, and Minnesota couldn’t defend the pass last season.