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NFL Preview: New England Patriots @ Minnesota Vikings

According to the report by Joel Lefevre, Until Sunday, the Vikings campaign appeared to be like a runaway train, a train which came to a screeching halt against the Cowboys

The Vikings were held to a mere 183 net yards, averaging 3.4 yards per play versus Dallas, and they were even worse defensively, allowing 458 yards in a lopsided defeat.

That loss ended a seven-game winning streak for Kevin O’Connell and his team, who still hold a comfortable lead atop the NFC North with a record of 8-2, four games ahead of the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers.

So far in 2022, Minnesota have thrived in close encounters, winning seven games by a single score, four of which were decided by a field goal or fewer.

Despite being ranked 28th in overall defence, they have got themselves out of some sticky situations, ranked fourth in the NFL regarding turnover differential (+7).

More often than not, the Vikings have saved their best for last, outscoring their opponents in the fourth quarter of seven games this season.

A week off did not seem to affect the Patriots’ defensive unit, as they were as sharp as can be on Sunday at Foxborough against their AFC East rivals.

Bill Belichick saw his team concede a mere three points for a second consecutive game, allowing the Jets an average of 2.1 yards per play, 44 yards through the air and 103 total yards.

Getting pressure on opposing QBs has been key to them shutting down opposing offences, with the Pats second in the league regarding sacks with 36.

As a defensive unit, they have allowed the fourth-fewest yards this season (302.8), while conceding fewer than 100 yards through the air in back-to-back contests.

New England are not the dominant offensive unit we remember from seasons past, ranked 24th in the passing game this year, but they have made wise decisions in the past two games, failing to throw an interception against the Indianapolis Colts and the Jets.

Heading into this encounter, the Pats are 1-1 against the NFC, though they have not won a road game against the opposite conference since blanking the Atlanta Falcons 25-0 in November 2021.

While he did not toss an interception, Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins had a difficult afternoon on Sunday, completing just 12 of his 23 passes for 105 yards, while one of the top receivers in the NFL, Justin Jefferson, had just three catches for 33 yards and TJ Hockenson caught five passes for 34 yards.

Dalvin Cook ran 11 times for 72 yards against the Cowboys, while Harrison Phillips and Camryn Bynum combined to make 12 tackles.

Za’Darius Smith, who is third in the NFL regarding sacks (9.5), has an issue with his knee, as does Andrew Booth, who missed practice on Monday, while Akayleb Evans and Christian Darrisaw are dealing with concussions.

Pats QB Mac Jones went 23/27 for 246 yards and zero picks against the Jets, Marcus Jones ran back a punt for a touchdown and Damien Harris had eight carries for 65 yards.

Matthew Judon added to his sack total on Sunday, collecting 1.5, moving him up to an NFL-leading 13 this year, while Kyle Dugger and Deatrich Wise each had one and Ja’Whaun Bentley led all players with eight tackles.

Isiah Wynn has a sore foot, Josh Uche is dealing with a pulled hamstring, DeVante Parker played last weekend despite a problem in his knee and Anfernee Jennings could miss this game because of a back injury.

Meetings against both Teams

The Patriots have won the previous five meetings against Minnesota, with the last one being in 2018 when James Develin ran for a pair of scores and Tom Brady hit Josh Gordon for a 24-yard touchdown pass in a 24-10 victory.

The last time these teams faced each other in Minnesota was in 2014 at the old Huntington Bank Stadium, when Chandler Jones ran back a blocked field goal 58 yards for a touchdown and Stephen Gostkowski booted three field goals in a 30-7 victory for New England.

Minnesota last beat the Pats at the beginning of this century, when Daunte Culpepper threw a touchdown pass to Johnny McWilliams and Matthew Hatchette, while Robert Smith ran for a score as the Vikings came away with a 21-13 victory in 2000.

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