Patriots Look to Avoid Disastrous 0-2 Start at Minnesota
By Charles Jay
Most pro football bettors would not have expected that the New England Patriots could be getting off to an 0-2 start facing two teams that did not even make the playoffs last season. But unless they carry a lot more intensity into their encounter with the Minnesota Vikings, that is precisely what could possibly happen. New England traveled to Miami for its opener; this time it should be a little less humid, as they visit TFC Bank Stadium in Minneapolis for this 1 PM ET kickoff.
The other three teams in the AFC East won their games last Sunday, which means the Pats are the last-place team. Okay, that will likely change, but not if they lay down in the second half the way they did against the Dolphins, who tallied 23 unanswered points to record a 33-20 victory. The Vikings were able to supply Mike Zimmer with a successful debut as head coach, as they took control early and throttled the Rams 34-6 in St. Louis.
In the pro football betting odds that have been placed on this game by the folks at VietBet, the Pats are favored:
New England Patriots -3 (+100)
Minnesota Vikings +3 (-120)
Over 49 Points -110
Under 49 Points -110
Adrian Peterson had issued a promise that his first carry of the season would result in a touchdown. He was not able to make that happen; in fact, he wasn’t even Minnesota’s leading ball carrier last Sunday. That distinction went to wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson, who scored on a 67-yard TD run. Matt Cassel did not have to be outstanding under these circumstances, and he got by with 170 yards passing and two TD’s with no interceptions.
It seems that Zimmer, who was the defensive coordinator at Cincinnati last season, wanted to establish a winning attitude right away in his new job. The Vikings won all four pre-season tilts, and they came out smoking against the Rams. Of course, VietBet customers should be cautioned not to get carried away with the defensive effort, as St. Louis was starting backup quarterback Shaun Hill, who was harassed and left the game in the first half, as Austin Davis took over. They’ll encounter a whole different ballgame when lining up opposite Tom Brady.
But if Brady is going to be successful, he’d be best advised to balance things out on offense a little better. He put the ball in the air 56 times against Miami, with only 20 rushing attempts. He was also sacked four times, which winds up being a concern against a Minnesota pass rush that chalked up five sacks last week. Brady has some experience dealing with Zimmer’s aggressive style of defense (he is his own defensive coordinator here) from his tenure with the Bengals.
Pro football bettors know that if the Pats are going to play a possession passing game, Ron Gronkowski has to continue his progress. He had four catches for 40 yards in Miami. And speaking of possession, New England can ill-afford to perform the way they did against the run, as Miami piled up 191 yards. Peterson (75 yards last week) is the most dangerous back they’re likely to face all season. At least they’ll always have a good scouting report on Cassel, who played the backup QB role in New England and also assumed the starting duties when Brady was lost for the season in the 2008 opener.
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