The New England Patriots under coach Bill Belichick have the reputation of responding after losses and rarely losing two straight games.
That’s why many pundits and talking heads are penciling New England in for an easy victory over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.
But that’s a mistake. The Vikings are my top upset pick for Week 2.
Although he’s one of the all-time greats, Pats quarterback Tom Brady wasn’t all that great during the 2013 NFL season. He threw for nine fewer touchdowns and nearly 500 fewer yards in 2013 than he did in 2012.
Heading into this year, many said Brady’s 2013 production drop-off was a result of a lack of weapons. An outstanding 2014 season from Brady was a popular prediction.
Well, Brady had a healthy Rob Gronkowski in Week 1 and was just 29 of 56 for 249 yards and one touchdown. Brady’s still obviously a solid quarterback, but he’s not in the elite class anymore and that makes the Pats not the sure thing they once were.
The Vikings don’t have a top-level starting quarterback, either. In fact, Minnesota doesn’t even have a good one in Matt Cassell. But they do have perhaps the best running back in the NFL in Adrian Peterson and the explosive do-it-all threat Cordarelle Patterson, as well as veteran receiver Greg Jennings, who caught six passes for 58 yards and a touchdown in Week 1. Minnesota has some real talent on the offensive end and that spells danger for New England.
Also, the Vikings’ defense looked great in Week 1. Yes, it was against an absolutely pathetic St.Louis Rams offense, but a strong defensive performance is a strong defensive performance no matter how one slices it. The defense won’t look as good on Sunday, but it can do enough for the Vikings to come away with the victory.
Every year we have that team that surprises us all and gets off to a hot start. The Minnesota Vikings could absolutely be that team. At home, coming off an impressive 34-6 Week 1 victory, the Vikings will keep the good times rolling and defeat New England, 23-20.