The Minnesota Vikings They are a volatile team with elite players in their skill positions. Justin JeffersonAnd the Adam Thelin And the Dalvin Cook Whole bunch, and Kirk Cousins He is an experienced quarterback in the NFL.
These are the types of players that can win ball games, which makes Minnesota a great challenge. They have many talented warriors on defense, including Harrison Smith at safety and Zadarius Smith up front, and they also have fastbacks.
They run coverages on a zone basis, effectively put the edge in the running game and excel at defending inside zone runs. They are well trained under Kevin O’Connell and have found ways to win many close matches this season.
However, the Vikings don’t jump off the page statistically on offense or defense, and after watching them lose to the Cowboys last week, I think the New England Patriots have a chance on Thanksgiving night.
Why the Vikings defense offers a favorable game
Minnesota’s defense is primarily district-based. It’s a lot split safety coverage with two deep safeties, and they’re trying to let the front seven handle the running game.
When you play zone coverage teams, you have the ability to manipulate the linebacker in the second level with a good fake play. These seven guys are the ones responsible for stopping runs with two of the safeties playing deep, so they may be more likely to respond to a fake play.
If the Patriots can implement in the play action to create that move on their second base, it could turn in some cuttings on the field.
When you’re facing a zone defense, it’s all about spacing out and being in the right position. The ability to influence the center back in the second level. Therefore, receivers must be disciplined in the depth and spacing of their tracks to make sure they hit the right spot, while Mac Jones He must be very diligent in reading his readings to ensure that he is not being forced into anything. He may have to do the scan, and that’s okay.
As the quarterback, if you get a good pre-read against the zone defense, you understand where the ball is supposed to go. Then it’s just a matter of manipulating a player to get them to move out of the area, and if they move into your throwing lane, you immediately look at the check mark.
If Jones is disciplined in his readings, he may find some chances in the passing game Thursday night.
The keys to Patriots success are on offense
If the Patriots want to move the ball effectively, they need to control the line of scrimmage. It all starts up front. They need to start the running game early, because that will set up the pass play, which is where I think they can have some success against the Vikings’ zone defense.
The Patriots found a good rhythm of play last Sunday; They incorporate some quick passes and some effective runs for different formations that pair well with their pass plays. They’ll need more Thursday – and they’ll also need the protection of Mac Jones. Jones was sacked six times last week, so the offensive line should take pride in limiting quarterbacks.
Finally, as we saw last week, the Patriots can be in any game regardless of their offensive output if they take care of football. Therefore, reducing turnovers will be a focal point once again for this offensive group, as will ending a drive in the red after they failed to score a touchdown against Planes.
The keys to Patriots success are in defense
The Patriots have been really good against the run lately, and they’re going to need to continue that trend this week. They can’t let Delphine Cook go on.
The other focal point of the defense is stopping Justin Jefferson, who has a great relationship with Kirk Cousins and is one of the best receivers in the game right now. He’s a huge play-by-play threat at any point in the game, so the secondary has to be on high alert to limit his explosive plays.
Bill Belichick He was always keen to identify the “game destroyers” on the other side and say, “We can’t let that guy beat us.” Jefferson definitely falls into that category, and I expect the Patriots to give him extra attention, whether it’s covering a “bow” with a safety helping him over the top or jamming him at the line of scrimmage to make sure he doesn’t get clean releases.
Cook is very effective on outfield runs, so the Patriots will need to set the edge up front and stop the run. The other important piece is the fast passing game, which was a big part of the Cowboys’ success against Minnesota last week. They’ve sacked Kirk Cousins seven times and made him uncomfortable in the pocket, so if the Patriots got to the Cousins like they got him Zack Wilson Last weekend, that could change the outcome of the match.
Expect nail biting
The Vikings are 8-2, but they’ve played in plenty of close games this season. So does the Patriots, whose defense plays on a confident note. Playing in a short week is always a challenge for the offense, so I think we’ll see a game with fewer goals, which should work in the Patriots’ favor and at least give them a chance to hit the road.
For that to happen, the Patriots need to start producing points in the red. The offense showed some promising signs last week, and now it’s about eliminating negative plays – specifically penalties and tackles – and improving their execution near the goal line.
If they avoid hurting themselves, we should have an entertaining ball game.
Editor’s note: Matt Cassel played 14 years in the NFL as a quarterback, including four with the Patriots from 2005 to 2008. He serves as an analyst for NBC Sports Boston, appears on Pre/Postgame Live, as a guest on Tom Curran’s Patriots Talk Podcast every Thursday, and as a columnist every week during the season.