Ranking the Patriots’ 5 primetime games on 2022 NFL schedule
2. Week 12 (Thanksgiving!) at Minnesota Vikings
How about some Thanksgiving action for the Patriots?! The last time they suited up on this glorious holiday? Thanks for asking. It was the Butt Fumble Game against the New York Jets at the Meadowlands in 2012. Good times.
New England has played five games in franchise history on Thanksgiving and all have been on the road (they’re 3-2). The franchise’s sixth will also feature some traveling as they head to Minnesota for a tough matchup against the Vikings. And again, they’ll likely be missing JC Jackson in this one because Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson are arguably the best wide receiver duo in the NFL.
The good news? Kirk Cousins loves to choke in primetime and especially against defenses that properly scheme against him. At the very least, Belichick will have that advantage, but Dalvin Cook leading Minnesota’s rushing attack doesn’t make things any easier. The Vikings disappointed with an 8-9 record in 2021, but there’s no denying they have one of the most talented rosters in the NFL.
This time around, they’ll have a new coach in Kevin O’Connell and some new talents on defense in linebacker Jordan Hicks, defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson and outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith. Those three alone should help the team improve upon its 24th-ranked defense from last season.
US Bank Stadium isn’t the easiest place to roll into and snag a victory, so it’ll be imperative for the Patriots to limit the big play abilities of Cook, Jefferson and Thielen to keep the crowd in check. If Belichick threatens to withhold the turkey, perhaps the Patriots pull this one out since this is the first of their four-game gauntlet.