New England Patriots (0-1 SU, 0-1 ATS) vs. Minnesota Vikings (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS)
NFL Week 2
Date and Time: Sunday, Sept. 14, 2014, 1:00 pm EST
Where: TCF Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, Minn.
TV: CBS, DirecTV – 706
by Badger, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: NE -3/Minn. +3
Over/Under Total: 49.5
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If you would have taken a poll in the preseason which one of the teams in this Sundays home opener for the Minnesota Vikings would be winless, either the Vikings or their opponent the New England Patriots, not many would have gotten this one right. When Tom Brady and the Patriots invade the Vikings new temporary home of TCF Bank Stadium it will be the perennial AFC favorites that will be looking to rebound from a disappointing season opener.
New England coughed up a 10-point first half lead in said opener, allowing the Miami Dolphins to score a mild upset at home in Florida with a 33-20 victory. Brady and the Pats looked almost reliant on the return of Rob Gronkowski at times on offense, and Brady was also sacked four times and lost two fumbles when the wheels fell off in the second half of last weeks loss.
Minnesota played a solid game in a 34-6 win last Sunday in St. Louis, although anyone who watched that game knows that the lopsided score had more to do with the Rams being a rudderless ship than with the Vikings being dominate. But there were lots of positives for the Vikings to build off, and this Sundays game against the Patriots will be more of a measuring stick for where the Vikings are under first-year coach Mike Zimmer and his staff at this early point in the season.
Oddsmakers arent taking the Vikings opening win over the Ram too seriously yet, setting the opening points spread for this game with the visiting Patriots as 3-point favorites. After a few days on the board, the number hasnt really moved off the magic number of 3 yet.
The over/under total opened at 49 and has also sat tight for the most part at most sportsbooks, however there are a few offshore books that have added the hook to take the push out of play, moving the total up to 49.5.
I already mentioned many of the shortcomings the New England offense will need to fix this week, but the Pats defense will have some work to do too. Specifically tighten up the run defense. The defense let the Dolphins run for nearly 200 yards last Sunday (191 yards) on a full 5.0 yards per carry, numbers that will continue to crush them until its fixed especially since the team on the other sideline this week has Adrian Peterson.
Minnesotas defense is also a work in progress, and their ability to limit Brady to the underneath routes in the passing game will be a huge key come Sunday. The Vikings sacked the Rams five times and forced two interceptions, numbers you just cant count on getting out of Brady two weeks in a row.
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These two met last in 2010, in what turned into a 28-18 Patriots win in Foxborough. In fact, New England has won three straight in the head-to-hed series with Minny, including a 31-7 win the last time they played in Minnesota back in 2006.
Since this is an every-four-years AFC-NFC matchup, finding betting trends on small samples often are misleading. However, the under has gone 4-1 in the last five matchups (since 1997).
Badgers Pick to Cover the Point Spread: A team is only as good as it’s most recent games. The Patriots lost a hard fought battle at Miami and have to go on the road again at Minny. The Vikings blew out a Rams team that many thought would have an easy time vs. the Vikes. The Vikings FINALLY have a good coach. They WILL be the surprise team of the year in the NFL. I’m taking the Vikings plus the points and straight up on the moneyline as well.