John’s Well-Educated Guesses: Patriots vs. Vikings

I didn’t write this column last week.  My bad.  I was eating….a lot.  I guess you can presume where my priorities lie.

But I’m back this week.  Don’t call it a comeback. 

Vikings come to town this weekend.  This wraps up our tour of the AFC North.  I can think of worse divisions, but its been an interesting run.  We got smoked by a bad Lions team (Thanks Patricia), We hung 38 on a good Bears team on the road and basically ended the Packers season as they are now imploding.  I think we are in a good spot to go 3-1 against that division…I’m glad this one is at home.

Vikings looked real scary on the schedule to start the year.  They made a deep playoff run last year and you never want to see those types of guys if you can help it (you can’t). 

They come into this week at 6-4-1, and I can’t help but think they have taken a small step back.  They have beaten San Fran, Philly, Arizona, Jets, Detroit and Green Bay.  Not exactly a murderer’s row.  They have lost to Buffalo (lol), Rams, Saints, Bears and Tied Green Bay.  Seems like a classic team that wins the games they are supposed to, but loses against superior talent.  I guess this game depends on which Pats team decides to show up.

Kirk Cousins has been solid for them.  He has multiple TD passes in four of the past five games, and the Pats secondary is no world beater.  Stefon Diggs is going to play through a knee ailment, but he should get the Stephon Gilmore treamtment (Stefon on Stephon crime either way, we all win).  Adam Thielen is also getting a ton of praise, especially in fantasy circles.  I’m interested to see him up close (I don’t watch a lot of Vikings football, so sue me).

The defense is what put asses in the seats last year.  They return a really solid front seven.  Harrison Smith is apparently as good as Troy Palamalu (according to Belichick at least), and Xavier Rhodes is hurt and may not play. 

Ok, enough fluff.  Let’s get to the predictions.

Prediction: Pats score on their first drive – I tried this one a few weeks ago and I basically picked the only drive they didn’t score on.  I think this is the game where we start early and play a full 60 minutes (it has to happen eventually….right???)

Prediction:  Gronk gets a tuddy – This isn’t normally a bold prediction, but this year has been different.  A combination of injuries and a lot of attention from opposing defenses has kept him mostly out of the endzone.  He has actually only scored twice if my math is right.  I think water finds its level and he scores one this week.

Prediction:  Vikings run for less than 100 yards – I think the Pats score early and the Vikings are going to have to throw a lot.  Also our run defense is legit, so I’m betting the combined ground yardage is less than one hundo.

Prediction:  Pats win 34-21 – Picking the score has been my specialty this season, so pay attention to this one.  As I mentioned before, I think we are really focused on playing a full 60 minutes.  We are a different team at home and the real football starts after Thanksgiving.  I’m anxious to see the Pats kick it up a gear, really hope they have it in them.