Looking to keep their playoff hopes alive, the (6-4-1) Minnesota Vikings travel to Gillette Stadium to take on the AFC East-leading (8-3) New England Patriots (4:25 PM ET Sunday).
It’s officially December, meaning there is just one month remaining in the 2018 NFL season. It’s hard to believe it’s already been almost one year of football as in some ways, it seems the season has just begun. Here we are in week 13 where the games somehow feel more important than they ever have. Of course, every game matters as much as the last one, but with just five left, there is certainly the feeling, especially for a team like the Vikings, that this really is do-or-die time.
Minnesota opened their season with a victory over the San Francisco 49ers and then followed it up by taking part in the NFL’s second tie game of the year against their divisional rival Green Bay Packers. While a tie is not a loss, it might as well have been for the Vikings given they had two chances to pick up the victory in overtime. Daniel Carlson missed both his field goal attempts and Minnesota had to settle for a 29-29 tie, a result which could be costly come the end of the year.
The tie was followed up with two straight losses including an almost inexplicable one to the Buffalo Bills. Minnesota got back to the winning side of things against the Philadelphia Eagles in week five in a rematch from last year’s NFC Championship game. This time, the Vikings came out on top and followed it up by two more wins to put them right back in the conversation. The Vikings have lost two of their last four however, including against the NFC North-leading Chicago Bears.
As things stand, the Vikings would certainly need some help to win the NFC North. The Bears currently hold a two-game lead in the division. As for the wildcard, if the playoffs started today, the Vikings would pick up that first spot and play the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Wildcard round. Anything can change over the next few weeks. The Vikings have to take care of their end of things and that all starts this week when they take on the Patriots.
Not unlike the Vikings, New England opened the year with a win but did not do so well in their next two games. In fact, after three games, the Patriots were 1-2 and actually had a worse record than the Vikings. Then in true Patriot style, the Super Bowl runner-ups found their way into the win column, doing so for six games in a row. New England was riding high as one of the best teams in the NFL until they found themselves on the losing end of one of their worst games in the Bill Belichick era. The Patriots offense went dormant and their defense was nonexistent as New England lost their third game of the year by a score of 34-10 against the Tennessee Titans.
Fortunately for the Patriots, the loss did nothing to dampen the team’s chances of winning yet another AFC East title. What it may have done however is make it a little harder for New England to earn the conference’s top overall seed. The Vikings aren’t the only ones who still have something to play for. Down just one game off the Kansas City Chiefs for that first seed, the Patriots are no doubt looking to continue their winning ways in order to get the seed and the home field advantage throughout the playoffs that comes with it. Given the fact that New England is looking for their 13th straight win at home, the importance of that advantage cannot be understated.
Our Preview’s Minnesota Vikings vs New England Patriots Picks & Betting Predictions Verdict
This is the first time in four years, which is like an eternity in the sports world, that Minnesota and New England are meeting for a game. A lot has changed in four years, especially on Minnesota’s side. They have got a new stadium, new quarterback, new head coach and tons of new impact players on offense.
The Patriots on the other hand exemplify the phrase, “the more things change the more they stay the same.” New England has achieved the bulk of their success with Belichick and Tom Brady at the helm. A win over the New York Jets last week assured the team a finish of over .500 for the 18th straight year. Belichick has been head coach for every single one of them.
When all is said and done, Belichick will go down as one of the best head coaches of all time. He is a large part of the Patriots’ success year in and year out. But he’s not the only reason. There’s Brady, who is a future Hall of Fame quarterback and there are his coaching staff who continue to flourish even through the transition that always happens when head coaching jobs across the league come calling. Perhaps the biggest aid to Belichick’s efforts has been the New England faithful and the way they have truly helped give the Patriots home field advantage over the years.
The Vikings are trending upward, there is no doubt about it. The way that Kurt Cousins is leading the passing threat of Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen is a really good sign for Minnesota. Add in that Dalvin Cook, who missed much of the early season with injury, is back and rounding into form and you have really got a dangerous Vikings team. Even with how good Minnesota could be, this is the Patriots at home and betting against New England in New England is not exactly a smart move. So our Minnesota Vikings vs New England Patriots prediction for this preview is:
- The best of our trusted U.S. sportsbooks have the Patriots between 4.5 and 5.5 point favorites which seems like a good spread to put money on. Take New England -4.5pts @ -113 with BetOnline. Every other bookie has a less favorable spread.
Marilee writes on NFL, MLB, NBA & tennis for USA Betting. Another area of her sporting journalistic expertise is pro wrestling. A native of Philadelphia and a big Eagles fan, she has been a sports writer for many major websites including Bleacher Report and Rant Sports. She started her journalistic career early, as sports editor for her college newspaper.