New England (6-4) at Minnesota (8-2)
When: Thursday, November 24th 2022
Where: U. S. Bank Stadium,
Time: 8:20 ET | TV: NBC
Opening Odds: Minnesota -3.5/43.5
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After watching the Lions, Bills, Giants and Cowboys during your Thanksgiving Day feast, you can top it off with a good matchup between the New England Patriots and Minnesota Vikings this Thursday night. Both teams are playing a little better than expected this season, but neither team look particularly good last week. New England’s improved defense completely shutdown the New York Jets, but the offense couldn’t do squat. With the game tied at 3-3 and overtime an almost certain, Marcus Jones retuned the NFL’s first punt for a touchdown (84 yards) with five seconds remaining to give the Pats a 10-3 win, giving them some momentum for Thursday’s matchup and keeping them alive for a playoff berth. New England’s defense limited New York to just 2 yards total offense in the second half and 103 for the game.
The Patriots are on a roll right now with wins in three straight and five of the last six after a dismal 1-3 start. It’s been all about the defense. They have allowed six points and 224 yards in the past two games combined and are sixth in the league with just 18.4 points allowed per game and fourth with only 1.9 touchdowns given up per contest. The offense has been a mess, but was better (297 total yards) last week despite not scoring. Mac Jones finished the game with 246 passing yards with zero touchdowns and zero interceptions. The Patriots are 3-0-1 against the spread in their last four road games and are a respectable 6-3-1 record against the spread this season.
It’s probably a good thing the Vikings have a quick turnaround after that embarrassing home loss to the Cowboys last Sunday. Minnesota is 8-2 but haven’t really played like it. In Week 9, they trailed at Washington by 10 only to come back for a win. In Week 10 they trailed at the Bills by 17 and pulled off one of the most improbable wins we’ve ever seen only to turn around and lose to Dallas by 37 points. They rank outside the top 10 in three of the four major offensive categories: points per game (13th), total yards per game (18th), pass yards per game (10th), rush yards per game (24th). The Vikings can played relaxed still with a four game lead over Green Bay in the NFC North. The defense ranks 31st against the pass (267.3) and 29th overall (388.9).
I like the Patriots in this one. They have been playing some really good defense and we saw what a good defense can do the Vikings last week. Protecting Cousins is going to be a challenge. New England’s offense should be able to move the ball against Minnesota’s 29th-ranked defense.
Pick: Patriots +2.5