Proudly owning the NFL’s top-ranked protection via EPA/Play, the New England Patriots journey to Minneapolis for a date with the Minnesota Vikings on Thanksgiving.
The Patriots took care of enterprise over the New York Jets in Week 11, 10-3, whereas the Vikings have been abused of their home by the revenge-minded Dallas Cowboys. The Vikings loss marked the primary time that the franchise hadn’t scored a landing in a recreation in six years.
Nothing went based on plan for Minnesota, and the Cowboys protection smashed quarterback Kirk Cousins for a career-high 7 sacks. With that in thoughts, Minnesota internet hosting New England is not what the physician ordered, because the Patriots protection and go rush is arguably higher than Dallas’.
And whereas the Patriots protection is certainly one of the best on the planet per anticipated factors added — and Invoice Belichick fears nobody — the Vikings provide a change of tempo for New England, whose latest slate of opponents and quarterbacks is a little bit head-scratching.
- Week 11: New York Jets + Zach Wilson
- Week 10: BYE
- Week 9: Indianapolis Colts + Sam Ehlinger
- Week 8: New York Jets + Zach Wilson
- Week 7: Chicago Bears + Justin Fields
- Week 6: Cleveland Browns + Jacoby Brissett
- Week 5: Detroit Lions + Jared Goff
- Week 4: Inexperienced Bay Packers + [meh] Aaron Rodgers
All through this stretch, New England’s protection rose to energy, turning heads as a true-blue classic Belichickian protection.
Subsequently, it’s truthful to ask — was the Patriots first-in-the-NFL protection inflated by a serendipitous stretch of offenses and quarterbacks?
After all, many would argue Kirk Cousins isn’t leaps and bounds higher than a lot of the Patriots latest opposing quarterbacks. However let’s be frank. Other than Rodgers not encountering a poor season, Cousins is markedly extra productive and skilled than all of that listing.
Add Cousins’ weaponry — Justin Jefferson, Dalvin Prepare dinner, Adam Thielen, T.J. Hockenson — and the arsenal is one of the best New England has confronted in months. Put bluntly, New England hasn’t performed a finely-tuned offense since Week 3 in opposition to the Baltimore Ravens. And for those who don’t just like the Ravens offense, earlier than that, it was Week 1 in opposition to the Miami Dolphins as a result of Week 2 was one other tap-in versus Mitchell Trubisky’s Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Vikings offense can’t be categorised as finely-tuned but — it has its moments — however the expertise assortment represents greater than Belichick has encountered since September.
In that vein, the Vikings pose an actual take a look at for the Patriots — not the ominous notion of, “how will the Vikings resolve the Patriots protection?” New England carved out its lofty protection standing on the backs of males named Sam Ehlinger and Zach Wilson.
If the Vikings aren’t effectuating vibes paying homage to the loss to Dallas, the Patriots ought to be the squad experiencing a impolite awakening.
Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the College of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his every day YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs each Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Viking fandom dates again to 1996. Listed responsible pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doorways (the band).