Sunday, September 14, 2014

Week 2 picks: Patriots at Vikings


Publisher Nick St. Denis, associate editor Dan Begnoche and senior writer Sean Donovan pick the New England Patriots' Week 2 road trip to the Minnesota Vikings.

Nick's take:
The Patriots haven't started the season 0-2 since 2001, and we'll be saying the same thing next season. New England will take the field in Minnesota with razor-sharp focus against a secondary that is opportunistic but susceptible to giving up big yards. Defensively, the Patriots are a little short at linebacker due to injury but won't have to worry about Adrian Peterson, which is a major break for a defense gashed by Knowshon Moreno last week. Pats win with relative ease.
Prediction: Patriots 30, Vikings 17

Sean's take:
Hoping to prove that last week was not a sign of their declining abilities, Tom Brady and the New England offense will look to get it rolling against a young and talented Minnesota defense. On the other side, the Patriots will face a Vikings offense flush with weapons and led by a rejuvenated Matt Cassel. A loss and a 0-2 start will trigger much panic on the Boston-area airwaves, and set the stage for the first serious race for the division crown in quite some time.
Prediction: Vikings 30, Patriots 24

Dan's take:
It's not every day the Patriots come into a game with something to prove, but that's exactly the situation in Week 2 after a tough road loss to Miami last week where the offense failed to close out the game after holding a 10-point lead at halftime. Not having to deal with Peterson should help, though stifling the play of wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson is an equally ominous task. The continued rehab of tight end Rob Gronkowski is a plus, and if the Pats' offensive line can keep Brady cleaner than he was against the Dolphins, Brady's unit should be able to out-duel Cassel and Co. in his first reunion with the team that drafted him.
Prediction: Patriots 28, Vikings 20

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