Patriots-Vikings prediction

Posted Oct. 31, 2010 @ 11:32 a.m.
Posted By Kevin Fishbain

Enough story lines for you? Brett Favre's ankle, Randy Moss' return to Foxborough, Tom Brady's home winning streak, a struggling Vikings team vs. a surging Patriots team. There is a lot at stake in Sunday afternoon's game.

The way Favre has played this year (seven TDs, 10 INTs), it's hard to say that the Vikings are extremely better with the ageless wonder at the helm. But he lucks out against a Patriots squad that has rarely brought heat to quarterbacks this season.

Bill Belichick is a defensive mastermind, though, and will likely try to rattle Favre in the pocket. The guy that few people are discussing who could in fact be the X-factor is Vikings RB Adrian Peterson. Arguably the best player on the field, Peterson faces a Patriots defense that has done well against the run the past few games, but he could find some room to roam. The Pats will certainly be worried about how their secondary holds up against Moss and WR Percy Harvin, so that could mean many sub packages on the field and opportunities for Peterson to attack a team that won't load up the box.

Brady is very good at home, and while the offense sputtered against the Chargers, they are doing enough to win football games; they will face another challenge against the Vikings' defense, though. And as bad as the Pats' pass defense is, they are 5-1 because they make key stops in crucial situations.

While the personnel is different, this Patriots team has the swagger of Pats teams earlier this decade. They are winning games with rookies stepping up all over the field. The Vikings have too much drama and too much pressure heading into a hostile environment. A healthy QB with those receivers against that pass defense, I'd give the Vikings the edge, but not with a banged-up Favre who has given it away too often this season.

Prediction: Patriots 27, Vikings 21