Patriots

New England’s next four games will be played in prime time, including against the Bills, Cardinals and Raiders, starting with Thursday night games.

Justin Jefferson of the Vikings is one of the most productive receivers in the NFL. ANDY CLAYTON-KING / COOPERATE PRESS

Welcome to Episode 11 of Unconventional Preview, a serious yet lighthearted, nostalgic look at the Patriots’ weekly matchup…

Thanksgiving is a time of introspection. Well, OK, for many of us, it’s mostly food and football time. But introspection ranks high. This fits Thursday’s Patriots vs. Vikings game because it matches teams that are about to find out about each other.

The Patriots arrive on vacation with a 6-4 record, beating the Jets Sunday for the 14th straight season and second time this season, despite a lone offensive touchdown in eight quarters. They have won three in a row and five of their last six games, which is mostly admirable work of winning massively considering their offense is a constant struggle to find rhythm and consistency.

But now they’ve reached the gauntlet. The Patriots play back-to-back on Thursday nights, taking on Josh Allen and the Bills next week on Amazon Prime. (Finally a Thursday night that’s worthy of Al Michaels.) The next four games are played in prime time, including Monday against the Cardinals and Sunday against the Raiders. They then end with home games against the Bengals and Dolphins and a rematch away to the Bills that could just decide the Patriots’ playoff fortunes.

There are games they should win, and they will win one or two games the bookmakers don’t expect them to win, but none of them will be easy. The back part of the schedule is more difficult than the front part. The shadows of 2019 – when the Patriots started 8-0 against various underdogs before losing four of their final eight, then losing to the Titans in the wildcard round – hover over this team.

The sense is that this Patriot defense will hold up much better than the so-called ‘Boogeymen’ of ’19 – at least this group, which ranks second in the NFL with 16.9 points per game, is much faster. But he has to prove that they really are against higher-level crimes other than those led by Zach Wilson.

The Vikings, averaging 22.9 points per game while ranked 13th in the league, are a decent place to start. Of course, the Vikings need to learn a few things about themselves.

They went into Sunday’s game against the Cowboys with an 8-1 record and an exciting win over the Bills. They were quickly pasted, 40-3, by the team that lost to the Packers. The Cowboys scored 37 unanswered points. The Vikings were so shaken that they committed six penalties in the third quarter alone – and Isaiah Wynn isn’t even in their lineup.

The Vikings’ performance, or staggering lack of performance, has raised legitimate questions as to whether their record is misleading. Seven of their wins are one-point matches, and their point difference is actually negative (229 scored, 231 allowed).

The Vikings can be a very good team, but they can also be a mirage. But beating a team with a .800 win percentage and a roster featuring plenty of high-end talent would be a surefire way for the Patriots to start this tough stretch.

Let’s start, Folk (or will it be you, Palardy?) and let’s start…

Three other players to watch besides the quarterbacks

Justin Jefferson: Any mention of this high-profile talent in the Vikings must begin with Jefferson, a former Louisiana star who took the league by storm since Minnesota used No. 22 – one spot before the Patriots were supposed to be on the clock – in the 2020 draft to pick him . Jefferson caught 88 catches for 1,400 yards and 7 touchdowns as a rookie, rising to 108 catches for 1,616 yards and 10 tank destroyers last year, and this year he has 72 catches and 1,093 yards while only having 4 touchdowns.

He’s up there with Miami’s Tyreek Hill and Buffalo’s Stefon Diggs – the receiver he replaced in Minnesota – among the league’s most productive pass catchers. Jefferson played four games for at least 147 yards that season, including a masterpiece of 10-catches and 193 yards against the Bills. In that game, he made one of the best catches you’ll ever see – and certainly the best catch by anyone with his name since John Jefferson was the star striker of the “Air Coryell” Chargers over 40 years ago – when he converted fourth and 18 at the end of the fourth quarter with a one-handed , a trick that goes against physics.

The Cowboys neutralized Jefferson on Sunday, limiting him to three catches for 33 yards, and he was dealing with what is believed to be a mild toe case. Bill Belichick’s defense has a long history of tackling the opposition’s most dangerous player, and with a quick pass, it can make life miserable for quarterback Kirk Cousins ​​and defensemen Jonathan Jones, Jalen Mills and Jack Jones, who have silenced any laments about losing JC Jackson to free agency, the fourth-ranked defense against the Patriots’ passing (188.3 yards per game) may just be up to the challenge.

Mateusz Judon: During the heyday of the 1980s, when they tormented quarterbacks for sport and pleasure, Andre Tippett was arguably the second-best pass-thrower of his era and the closest to Lawrence Taylor who had AFC. Pro Football Hall of Fame voters got it wrong about the Patriots – little attention to Stanley Morgan’s all-time deep threat, little intellectual curiosity as to why Rodney Harrison had so few Pro Bowl selections – but at least finally chose Tippett in 2008, 15 years after his career ended.

I mention this because Tippett is the gold jacket standard for what the Patriots’ passing forward should be, so we’re not making light comparisons to him. But there’s no question about it – Judon has a season that would fit perfectly with Tippett’s season pro-football-reference.com side. After scoring 1½ sacks against the Jets, his eighth game of the season with at least one sack and fourth with more than one sack, Judon now has 13 this season. This is the third-highest single-season tally in Patriots history, behind Tippett’s two seasons – his tour de force with 18 1/2 sacks in 1984 and his 16 1/2 sacks follow-up in 1985.

Judon should add to his collection against the battered Vikings offensive line, which will be without Christian Darrisaw’s left tackle (concussion) and will allow the Cowboys seven sacks, including two by Micah Parsons, one of Judon’s competitors in early Defensive Player of the Year talks. Only Dallas, with 42 sacks, has more than the Patriots’ 36 this season.

Dalvin Cook: Given that both teams have offensive lines that at times seem to conspire against their quarterbacks, Thursday’s game could change as to which team carries the ball better. The Vikings have Cook’s most talented defenseman, the three-time Pro Bowl selector, who is on track for a fourth consecutive 1,000-yard season. Cook is sixth in the NFL in rushing yards with 799 yards and scored six touchdowns, including 81 yards against the Bills. But in their entire tally, the Vikings are just 24th in the NFL in rushing yards per game (106.9), and is led by the unheralded Ja’Whaun Bentley (the Patriots’ top forward with 65, 19 more than Devin McCourty and Adrian Phillips). The Patriots have an improving defense that ranks 13th in the league at 114.5 yards per game. The Cook vs. Patriots defense is one matchup that could go either way.

Regret of the week

As you may remember or heard in the build-up to this game, Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell was the Patriots’ third-round draft pick in 2008, finishing 94th as quarterback from San Diego State. The Patriots drafted two excellent players in this draft, linebacker Jerod Mayo for the 10th overall pick and specials ace Matthew Slater in the fifth round, but they didn’t hit anyone else, and then the question arose as to why the Patriots would issue a third-round pick to a point guard with Tom Brady in the squad.

O’Connell missed out on four passes in two games, taking the pressure off Matt Cassel, who had stood in for the injured Brady in 2008 and then was cut before the start of the 2009 season. Some make it, some don’t, some become coaches, it’s it happens. But it cringes when you look back at this 2008 project and realize the Patriots took O’Connell one pick before the Giants picked Michigan’s Mario Manningham. Patriots fans probably don’t need this reminder, but three seasons later, Manningham made a spectacular, pivotal catch in the Giants’ Super Bowl win over the Patriots. You should take him, Bill!

Prediction, will Devin McCourty and Harrison Smith break tie after 33 career interceptions?

Cousins ​​is sometimes cited as a comparison to what Mac Jones could become. Jones had a tough second season for countless reasons – it’s almost inconceivable that he has four touchdown passes in seven games, considering he threw 22 as a rookie – but seriously, it’s to be hoped he ends up as more than The Next Cousins. It’s not like Cousins ​​hasn’t been productive in his 11-year career. He passed for over 4,000 yards in six of the previous seven seasons and threw at least 25 touchdown passes in all those seven years. But it tends to melt under the brightest lights. He’s 10-18 in prime-time matches. He has one playoff win out of four starts, a 26-20 overtime victory for the Vikings over the Saints in the 2019 wildcard round. that he will rise to the occasion at the best time.

A hunch here: both quarterbacks will be besieged behind patched lines. I like that Jones is handling the heat a bit better after a successful 246-yard run against the Jets. And I like Patriot kicker Nick Folk a lot of better than Vikings’ Greg Joseph, who has just 14-of-19 from the field. Think of it as a signature win and one to build on. Patriots 23, Vikings 20.

var consent=”grant”;
/* The above code is parsing the JSON data from the local storage and storing it in a variable. */
const onetrustStorageConsent = JSON.parse(localStorage.getItem( ‘consent_one_trust_bdc’ ) );
if ( ( onetrustStorageConsent !== null ) ) {
/* Checking to see if the user has consented to the use of cookies.
* If they have not, it is deleting the cookie.
* This will comment for now, until further notice.
*/
//if ( onetrustStorageConsent.C0002 === false ) {
// document.cookie=”_fbp=;expires=Thu, 01 Jan 2010 00:00:00 UTC; path=/; domain=.boston.com”;
//}
/* Checking if the user has given consent for the cookie C0002.
* If the user has given consent, the variable consent will be set to ‘grant’.
* If the user has not given consent,the variable consent will be set to ‘revoke’.
* Documentation
*/
if ( onetrustStorageConsent.C0002 !== true ) {
consent=”revoke”;
}
}
!function(f,b,e,v,n,t,s)
{if(f.fbq)return;n=f.fbq=function(){n.callMethod?
n.callMethod.apply(n,arguments):n.queue.push(arguments)};
if(!f._fbq)f._fbq=n;n.push=n;n.loaded=!0;n.version=’2.0′;
n.queue=[];t=b.createElement(e);t.async=!0;
t.src=v;s=b.getElementsByTagName(e)[0];
s.parentNode.insertBefore(t,s)}(window, document,’script’,

fbq(‘consent’, consent);
fbq(‘init’, ‘989222871864976’);
fbq(‘track’, ‘PageView’);

var consent=”grant”;
/* The above code is parsing the JSON data from the local storage and storing it in a variable. */

const onetrustStorageConsent = JSON.parse(localStorage.getItem( ‘consent_one_trust_bdc’ ) );
/* Checking to see if the user has consented to the use of cookies.
* If they have not, it is deleting the cookie.
* This will comment for now, until further notice.
*/
//if ( onetrustStorageConsent.C0002 === false ) {
// document.cookie=”_fbp=;expires=Thu, 01 Jan 2010 00:00:00 UTC; path=/; domain=.boston.com”;
//}
/* Checking if the user has given consent for the cookie C0002.
* If the user has given consent, the variable consent will be set to ‘grant’.
* If the user has not given consent,the variable consent will be set to ‘revoke’.
* Documentation
*/
if ( ( onetrustStorageConsent !== null ) && (onetrustStorageConsent.C0002 !== true ) ) {
consent=”revoke”;
}

!function(f,b,e,v,n,t,s){if(f.fbq)return;n=f.fbq=function()
{n.callMethod? n.callMethod.apply(n,arguments):n.queue.push(arguments)}
;if(!f._fbq)f._fbq=n;
n.push=n;n.loaded=!0;n.version=’2.0′;n.queue=[];t=b.createElement(e);t.async=!0;
t.src=v;s=b.getElementsByTagName(e)[0];s.parentNode.insertBefore(t,s)}(window,
document,’script’,’
fbq(‘consent’, consent);
fbq(‘init’, ‘813236348753005’);
fbq(‘track’, “PageView”);

#Patriots #team #ready #prime #time

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *