Patriots vs. Vikings Week 12 matchup preview and current betting lines
The New England Patriots (6-4) won their third game in a row to complete a sweep of the Jets after scoring the first punt return touchdown of the 2022 season. The Minnesota Vikings (8-2) saw their seven-game winning streak end after a 40-3 rout at home at the hands of the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.
The Vikings are the first 8-2 team in NFL history to have a negative scoring differential (minus-2 points). Meanwhile, the Patriots are plus-44 on the scoreboard this season, though the offense leaves a lot to be desired. Mac Jones still has fewer touchdown passes on the season than rookie backup Bailey Zappe despite Jones attempting 103 more passes.
But Bill Belichick still knows how to coach defense, and the Patriots rank No. 2 in points allowed this season. They will be licking their chops to get after this offensive line that allowed seven sacks to Dallas. The Vikings are also going to be without left tackle Christian Darrisaw after a concussion.
Then we also have Kirk Cousins’ kryptonite: Prime time. In night games, Cousins is 10-18 in his career (6-9 with Vikings, 4-9 with Washington). His numbers are better than given credit for in those games (50 touchdowns, 26 interceptions, 7.4 yards per attempt, 93.9 passer rating), but we rarely see him at his best under the bright lights.
The NFL Week 12 odds have the Vikings as a 2.5-point home favorite with a total of 42.5 points. Does Minnesota rebound from Sunday’s blowout, or does Belichick pull off another upset?
Players to watch in the Patriots vs. Vikings game
New England Patriots
Matt Judon: How many people are aware Judon leads the NFL with 13 sacks this season? He is about to make his fourth straight Pro Bowl and his second in as many seasons with the Patriots. This matchup is likely going to increase his lead in sacks as well. But with only one forced fumble on the season, he needs to add to that total if the Patriots want to get the win here.
Justin Jefferson: An elite talent, Jefferson was again quiet against Dallas with 33 yards on Sunday. He usually bounces back after quiet games, but this will be his first game against a Belichick defense that is known for taking away your best option. We’ll see how Jefferson responds to the coverage coming his way.
Our Best NFL Bets for the Patriots vs. Vikings game
We have two NFL Week 12 predictions for the Thursday night game this Thanksgiving.
Patriots vs. Vikings Point Spread Pick: Patriots +2.5 (-105)
The Patriots vs. Vikings spread opened with the Vikings as a 3.5-point home favorite before moving down to 2.5 points. Have to say the 3.5 was far more enticing for the Patriots’ side of things, but if you like New England to win, then it doesn’t matter if it’s 2.5 or 3.5.
The Vikings have been walking on a thin line all season with a 7-0 record in close games. They were also 5-0 at fourth-quarter comeback opportunities, meaning coach Kevin O’Connell is 10-0 in close games and 8-0 in game-winning drives going back to last postseason with the Rams where he was offensive coordinator. That is a remarkably lucky streak that is bound to end any day now, but it wasn’t even challenged on Sunday with the Cowboys way ahead before the fourth quarter in a 40-3 game.
So, technically the Vikings still haven’t lost a close game this season, and we know the Patriots have lost their edge in such games without Tom Brady (not to mention Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman, etc.). But the Patriots can still defend with the best in the league, and only the most mobile quarterbacks in football (Lamar Jackson and Justin Fields) have dropped more than 27 points on this defense all season.
Cousins has played Belichick twice and scored 10 points in each game, a loss, and had a miniscule 4.98 yards per pass attempt. On the bright side, those games were in 2015 (first full year as starter in Washington) and 2018 (first year in Minnesota). Cousins is a more experienced quarterback now, and the Patriots are less talented than they used to be.
But despite the 8-2 record, Cousins is also having the worst statistical season of his career in 2022 across the board. Everything from his completion percentage to touchdown percentage to yards per attempt, passer rating, and QBR are all at the lowest of his career as a starter.
Blame the offensive line if you want, but Cousins is one of the worst quarterbacks at handling pressure.
- In his career, Cousins is 7-16 when he takes at least four sacks.
- Since 2018 with Minnesota, Cousins is 3-12 in his 15 highest pressure games according to Pro Football Reference.
- The Patriots rank No. 2, only behind the Dallas team that just won 40-3 in Minnesota, in pressure rate (29.8%) and sacks (36) this season.
Let’s go with the Patriots to continue what the Cowboys exposed on Sunday and cover this spread for your NFL bet of the week.
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Total: Under 42.5 Points (-112)
The Vikings are the best offense the Patriots have faced since probably the Browns in Week 6, a 38-15 win. The Lions were also a scoring juggernaut earlier this year before the Patriots beat them 29-0.
It is unfair to hold the Vikings to the standard of the Jets or the Colts with Sam Ehlinger at quarterback, but the Patriots have gone eight straight quarters without allowing a touchdown after 26-3 and 10-3 wins over the Colts and Jets.
The Patriots have had six games go under 40 points this season. That has only happened three times for the Vikings, but this feels like it can be the closest game to what the Vikings played against Washington in Week 9. That was a 20-17 final where the Vikings had to rally from 10 points down in the fourth quarter. Washington’s good defensive front gave the team some problems and kept the scoring down.
While most of the attention will be on how Cousins fares against a Belichick defense in prime time, the Patriots have an offense that only scored three points on Sunday too. We won’t see a repeat of Sunday with both offenses only managing a field goal, but this feels like a 20-17 game that will hit the under.bet on NFL with Betrivers >
Frequently asked questions about the Patriots vs. Vikings game in Week 12
The game is being played at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
We know Monday is the night where Cousins lost his first nine starts, but Thursday games have gone a bit better with wins in his last two. However, Cousins is still 3-4 overall on Thursday night and nearly helped blow a 29-0 lead against the Steelers last season with two interceptions.