“King of the Hill” office elimination pools got a whole lot lighter in week one thanks New England losing on the road to the Dolphins 20-33 as -3.5 favorites. It was a tale of two halves in South Beach with the Patriots scoring 17 unanswered points en route to taking a 20-10 halftime lead only to put up a goose egg in the second half. New England was abysmal on the ground tallying just 90 yards on 20 rushes while giving up a whopping 191 to the ‘Phins.
The Vikings on the other hand had a rather easy go of it, trekking into St. Louis and stomping a mud hole on the Rams 34-6. Granted St. Louis is pretty thin at quarterback but the new-look Vikings defense under coach Mike Zimmer was impressive nonetheless. The Vikings showed signs of being a pretty formidable well-rounded team as Adrian Peterson was held in check (21 carries, 75 yards) only to have Cordarelle Patterson shine with 3 carries for 102 yards and a TD, proving OC Norv Turner has creative ways to get the electrifying second year player the ball. QB Matt Cassell was serviceable in quieting some offseason signal caller concerns, going 17/25 for 170 yards with 2TD but 0 INT.
The public perception is that New England simply doesn’t lose two in a row and that Minnesota’s impressive showing came against an inferior opponent; both games were an enigma so to speak. There are certainly some numbers that favor New England including Bill Belichick’s record after a loss (4-0 ATS last season) and the fact that the Patriots are 10-1 after playing a division opponent the past 3 years. The Patriots also have an impressive 11 game winning streak going against the NFC North.
The betting public will be on the Patriots hard, as they usually are. What the underlying storyline of this game is though is that we’re witnessing the beginning of the end for New England. Tom Brady is a 37-year-old QB, Rob Gronkowski looks rusty, and the offensive line has significant issues. Couple that with a defense that gave up 134 yards to Knowshon Moreno having to turn around and face Adrian Peterson and gameplan for Patterson runs and it’s not looking optimistic for New England. The Vikings are younger, healthier, and simply better on defense than last year and could get to Brady even more than the 4 times the Dolphins did last week.
The line of New England -3 is a little baffling because books could have ensured a bigger payout by going Minnesota -1, but the Vikings are the play nonetheless.
Pick: Vikings +3 @ Bookmaker.eu