After losing to the Dolphins in week 1, the Patriots will have a chance to redeem themselves when they play the Vikings in Minnesota. David Smith of SI's Fansided breaks down the biggest match-ups and gives his prediction for Sunday's game. Smith believes the key to the game is keeping Brady upright, and he has the Patriots winning 23-17.
"The Patriots on paper are way better than the Vikings, Brady is better than Matt Cassel, the Patriots defense is better and the Patriots coaching staff is better," writes Smith. "If Brady can stand in the pocket and throw without pressure, the Patriots will pick the Vikings' defense apart."
For more Patriots-Vikings picks and predictions, ESPN Boston has you covered. Check out which team Mike Reiss, Tedy Bruschi, and other experts pick to win this week's game. Tedy Bruschi and Mike Reiss further analyze the matchup in 'Bruschi's Breakdown'.
"I think the Patriots players and coaches bounce back this week in a hard-fought victory," says Mike Reiss.
After getting gashed by Knowshon Moreno and Mike Wallace last week, the Patriots may face an even tougher challenge this week with Adrian Peterson and Cordarrelle Patterson. Last night on Comcast SportsNet's "New England Tailgate," Steve DeOssie and Fred Smerlas explained the keys to stopping the Vikings offense.
"You've got to be fundamentally sound," said Fred Smerlas. "When you go to attack one of those guys, if you lunge they're gone. Break down, make them go lateral, wait for your help. If you dive at them, they're going to blow you away."
Adrian Peterson's success or failure will be a key component in deciding the outcome for Sunday's game, which is why Neil Greenberg called it the NFL matchup of the week. In his article in the Washington Post, Greenberg focused in on Dont'a Hightower and how he plans to slow Peterson down.
On the other side of the ball, the Patriots offensive line was embarrassed in Miami and Shalise Manza Young says they better be ready for even more pressure against the Vikings. Of the 36 times Rams quarterbacks dropped back to pass last week against the Vikings , they were hurried 24 times.
"Seven Vikings had at least two hurries, meaning pressure comes from anywhere," wrote Young in her article in the Boston Globe. "All of which is to say New England's offensive line, which had less than a banner day against the Dolphins, needs to be prepared for that pressure."
In SI's Monday Morning Quarterback, Greg Bedard explained that the Patriots and the Packers have the same issue on defense. He says that both teams made "questionable" personnel decisions and didn't put their players in a position to succeed. However, Bedard says that the Patriots stand a better chance at fixing the issue because they have the personnel to tweak the defensive scheme.