After a week of discussing how the New England Patriots will bounce back from their awful performance against Miami, the time is now here for them to show us what they are made of.
Before this whole Adrian Peterson mess surfaced, I thought this game would be a tough one for the Pats. However, now that Peterson is out, I believe the Patriots will roll. Here are a few final thoughts on the game:
1. Focus now on Patterson
Stopping Adrian Peterson was priority number one. Now, priority number one is stopping explosive second year wideout Cordarrelle Patterson. He is the only player left on that offense that can wreak havoc for the Patriots, so if New England can shut him down, this should be an easy victory. I personally think Bill Belichick should stick Darrelle Revis on him all game to simply erase him from the equation, but the Pats may have a different plan prepared.
2. PROTECT TOM BRADY
Along with pretty much every other Patriots fan in the world, this has been the main concern all week long. The Pats’ offensive line had a horrendous outing last week, which was the primary reason why they dropped their season opener. There are plenty of mismatches New England can take advantage of against Minnesota’s secondary, but Brady needs time to find them.
3. Balance on offense
Last week in Miami, Tom Brady dropped back to pass a whopping 60 times, while Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley had a combined 15 carries. That has to change today, or else the Vikings will begin to tee off at Brady, and I don’t think the offensive line would hold up in their current situation. If they get the ground game going, Minnesota’s pass rush won’t be as fierce, which will give Brady time to slice up their weak defensive backfield.
4. Rob Gronkowski’s playing time
Gronk played about 45% of the offensive snaps last week, and I expect his role to increase today. He is listed as probable in the injury report, he participated in practice all week long, and more importantly, he now has one week of NFL game-action under his belt. We couldn’t really see it last week because of the pass rush affecting the offense, but when Gronkowski is on the field, this Patriots passing attack instantly turns into one of, if not the best in the league. Hopefully we will see a few more ‘Gronk Spikes’ in the end zone later today.
I’m going 38-13, Pats. Here are my full week two predictions.