The New England Patriots will try to extend their three-game winning streak when they face the Minnesota Vikings on Thanksgiving. New England got past the Jets on Sunday, extending its winning streak and moving to 6-4 overall this year. Minnesota is hoping to bounce back from one of the worst performances in franchise history, getting blown out by Dallas in a 40-3 final.
Patriots continue winning waysNew England got off to a slow start this season, losing three of its first four games. The Patriots have been outstanding since then though, winning five of their last six games. Two of their last three wins have come against the Jets, including a 10-3 win on Sunday in a game that did not feature much offense. Rookie punt returner Marcus Jones returned a punt 84 yards for a touchdown with five seconds remaining. It was the second-latest game-winning score on a punt return in regulation since 1970, trailing only DeSean Jackson’s famous return against the Giants with no time remaining in 2010.
New England has not been on the road since the end of October when it beat the Jets in a 22-17 final. The Patriots are still hoping to find a consistent rhythm offensively, as they are No. 25 in yards per game (317.6). Quarterback Mac Jones has completed 68.7% of his passes for 1,386 yards, four touchdowns and seven interceptions. His top target has been wide receiver Jacobi Meyers, who has 44 receptions for 509 yards and three scores. Running back Rhamondre Stevenson leads the rushing attack with 644 yards and four touchdowns, averaging 4.5 yards per carry. He is facing a Minnesota defense that looked awful last week and is No. 29 in the NFL overall, allowing 388.9 yards per game.
Vikings coming off disastrous lossMinnesota is coming off possibly the most shocking performance of the season. The Vikings lost at Philadelphia in Week 2, which is a loss that does not look too bad now, but they had responded with a seven-game winning streak. They had knocked off Buffalo in overtime two weeks ago and appeared to be brimming with confidence heading into their game against Dallas on Sunday. Minnesota put up an absolute clunker though, getting crushed in a 40-3 final. It was the team’s fifth-largest loss ever and the biggest road win in Dallas’s storied history. Minnesota was out of sorts throughout the game, committing six penalties in the third quarter alone.
The Vikings have the smallest average winning margin in 90 years, so their record might be better than they actually are. Quarterback Kirk Cousins finished 12 of 23 for 105 yards and a lost fumble against the Cowboys. Cousins has completed 63.4% of his passes for 2,461 yards, 14 touchdowns and eight interceptions this season. He has also been sacked 27 times, which will be a storyline to watch against a New England defense that ranks fourth overall, allowing 302.8 yards per game. Running back Dalvin Cook has rushed for 799 yards and six touchdowns, averaging 5.1 yards per attempt. Wide receiver Justin Jefferson has 1,093 receiving yards, while Adam Thielen has 492 receiving yards.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
Minnesota was a team that I had overrated heading into its abysmal showing against Dallas, although that turned out worse than anyone could have imagined. The Vikings’ stats do not match their record, as they have actually been outscored overall this season. Plenty of bettors are going to look at the records of these teams and back Minnesota, but I like New England here. The Patriots have quietly been playing very solid football, covering the spread in six of its last seven games. They have much better defense and have won five straight meetings between these teams, so I am happy to back them on Thanksgiving.
Full-Game Total Pick
Minnesota likes to play high-scoring games, going over the total in 12 of its last 18 games. New England prefers to play defensive, low-scoring affairs, with the under cashing in four of its last six contests. I expect the Patriots to control the tempo of this game with their rushing attack and short passes, keeping Minnesota’s offense off the field as much as possible. The Vikings will also just be a few days removed from their worst showing of the year, so it’s tough to expect an immediate correction. New England has gone under the total in 12 of its last 18 road games, and the under has cashed in six of the last seven meetings between these teams.