Experts share their picks for the Patriots Week 13 matchup against the Minnesota Vikings.
Mike Reiss, ESPN:
Pick: Patriots 27, Vikings 23
The Vikings are one of five teams that Brady has an undefeated regular-season record against (4-0), and the return of Rex Burkhead highlights how the Patriots' offense is getting healthy at the right time. When the Patriots have had Julian Edelman, Josh Gordon and Rob Gronkowski on the field together, they are 4-0 and average 33.3 points per game. When one of those players is not on the field, the Patriots are 4-3 and average just 24.9 points.
Courtney Cronin, ESPN
Pick: Patriots 30, Vikings 26
Mike Zimmer has a defense that can make Tom Brady uncomfortable. Brady hasn't been great against the blitz this season, so Zimmer could choose to tap into some of those looks. Kirk Cousins was excellent with play-action last week, and keying into that element of his game and continuing to find ways to mix in Kyle Rudolph and Dalvin Cook will be critical, especially if the Patriots aim to take away Adam Thielen. But the numbers don't lie: Brady plays his best in December with a league-best 58 wins over his career.
Mike Golic, ESPN: Patriots
Seth Wickersham, ESPN: Vikings
Mina Kimes, ESPN: Patriots
Trey Wingo, ESPN: Patriots
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports:
Pick: Patriots 30, Vikings 23
The Patriots haven't been as prolific on offense this year, but I think this will be a game where Tom Brady throws it a lot – and has success. The Vikings are good against the run and OK against the pass. The New England defense will get after Kick Cousins, who plays behind an average line. The Patriots will take it.
Jason La Canfora, CBS Sports: Vikings
Will Brinson, CBS Sports: Patriots
Dave Richard, CBS Sports: Patriots
Ryan Wilson, CBS Sports: Packers
Elliot Harrison, NFL.com:
Pick: Patriots 34, Vikings 30
Back in the spring, when the NFL schedule was released, I thought this would be one of the top games of 2018. Fast-forward to late November. While it is still purdy, this matchup doesn't resonate like it did in April. Both organizations were considered front-runners for the Super Bowl, especially with the Vikings landing Kirk Cousins in the offseason. Yet, a rocky start by Minnesota coupled with the ascendancy of the Saints, Rams and Chiefs has made this would-be headliner into more of a really fun opening act for Sunday night's game in Pittsburgh. The Patriots remain in the upper echelon of the league, but in order to beat the Vikings, Tom Brady must ratchet up his game a notch. Unlike in New England's win over the Jets last week, Minnesota won't let the Pats scurry on the ground into the secondary. If Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes is a no-go, that translates to an instant competitive advantage for Brady. We'll all find out together.Non-QB intrigue: How does Green Bay handle James White? If the Packers play in dime coverage, White won't necessarily have the advantage of beating linebackers to the spot Brady is throwing to. White might be the key figure in this game, especially if Sony Michel can't go.
Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk:
Pick: Patriots 31, Vikings 20
Vikings simply don't match up well with a Patriots team that matches up well with pretty much everyone. This could get ugly.
Michael David Smith, Pro Football Talk:
Pick: Patriots 24, Vikings 21
One of the best games of the day feels like it could go either way, but I like the Patriots to pull it out late.
Paul Perillo, Patriots.com:
Pick: Patriots 27, Vikings 23
Defense forces a couple of mistakes from Cousins to make the difference.
Andy Hart, Patriots.com:
Pick: Patriots 27, Vikings 17
Erik Scalavino, Patriots.com:
Pick: Vikings 33, Patriots 24
This is the beginning of a tough three-game stretch for New England. Minnesota is a well-balanced team that has often been its own worst enemy on offense, or else they'd have a much better record than they currently own. The Vikes are equipped to come to Gillette and put points on the board, while limiting the Patriots' ability to do so.
Don Banks, Patriots.com NFL Columnist:
It's a rare, but good matchup and the numbers bear that out. Since the beginning of the 2015 season, the Vikings (38-20-1) and Patriots (47-12) have had the best records in the NFC and AFC, respectively. Both teams made the final four last season and won 13 games. Minnesota might be without injured cornerback Xavier Rhodes and receiver Stefon Diggs and that's lousy timing because it's tough to win in Gillette as the visitor. The Patriots are 5-0 at home and almost always take care of business in December before the Foxboro faithful. The Vikings will hang around, but they won't out-last the Patriots, who now have a first-round bye within their reach.