This one stinks and I don't blame you for fading me here. But, the Minnesota Vikings (8-2) are the right side when they host the New England Patriots (6-4) Thanksgiving at U.S. Bank Stadium for an 8:20 p.m. ET kickoff.
First of all, it's a buy-low spot for the Vikings and a sell-high spot for the Patriots.
Minnesota got embarrassed 40-3 at home last week by the Dallas Cowboys. Everyone suspected the Vikings were worse than their record and that was confirmed by the Cowboys waxing them.
New England won and covered in Week 12 vs. the New York Jets. The Patriots are 5-1 straight up (SU) in their last six games and 6-1 ATS in their last seven.
However, gimme the Vikings to cover. Bill Belichick cannot keep masking a bad QB, this game gives me vibes of another scenario the Patriots got smoked in and New England's run defense is suspect.
Betting Details (DraftKings)
Technically, recall is a poker player’s ability to remember the betting sequences and outcomes of hands in the past and apply it to current situations.
I’m applying this concept to the Patriots-Vikings handicap by looking at New England’s 27-17 loss to the Indianapolis Colts last season in Week 15. That was also a primetime game (Saturday) following a Patriots victory in a windy game over a divisional foe on the road.
New England beat Buffalo in its prior game 14-10 and were only 2.5-point road underdogs to the Carson Wentz-led Colts after a bye week. Wentz is a QB people generally like to fade, especially last year on primetime vs. Belichick.
Indy instead kept its QB out of harm's way and gave RB Jonathan Taylor 29 carries for 170 rushing yards. I expect Minnesota to do the same on Thanksgiving.
Vikings rookie coach Kevin O'Connell already got a glimpse of primetime Kirk Cousins earlier this season and ...
New England's rush defense is overrated
Minnesota RB Dalvin Cook is one of the best all-purpose running backs in the NFL. Cook has rushed for at least 5.2 yards per carry in six of his 10 games this season.
It's easy for the Patriots to stop a rushing attack from a team with a below-average QB. And as much as I hate Cousins the football player, he's much better than the QBs New England has beaten this season.
The Patriots' six wins in 2022 have been against Jets QB Zach Wilson (twice), Steelers backup QB Mitch Trubisky, Browns backup QB Jacoby Brissett, Lions QB Jared Goff, and Colts backup QB Sam Ehlinger.
New England's rush defense has improved during its current 3-game winning streak vs. the Jets (twice) and Colts. From Week 1-8, the Patriots' rush defense was 20th in expected points added per play and 31st in rushing success rate.
Most importantly ...
Vikings win the QB battle
Let's acknowledge the Elephant in the Room: Cousins is terrible in primetime. His teams are 10-18 SU in those spots. But, Cousins is leagues better than Patriots QB Mac Jones and the stiffs Belichick feasts on.
Pro Football Focus grades Jones 36th out of 39 QBs in the NFL and Jones has the third-worst QBR. How many games has Jones won with his arm?
If the Patriots have to come from behind, they are screwed. Jones has a 4/7 TD/INT rate, zero fourth-quarter comebacks, and zero game-winning drives.
Jones will most likely be without starting C David Andrews who exited last week with a thigh injury. He originally was expected to miss significant time but Andrews missed practice Monday and was limited in practice Tuesday.
Professional NFL bettors recognize centers as the second-most important position to the betting line behind QB. If Andrews misses Thanksgiving, New England's blocking schemes take a huge hit. The last thing a QB as bad as Jones needs is to be missing his center.