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Two weeks ago
Nov 28, 2018

NFL Week 13 preview: Minnesota Vikings at New England Patriots

The road to the Super Bowl

Inform your Patriots vs. Vikings prediction

Finding value in the Patriots vs. Vikings statistics

NFL Week 13 preview: Minnesota Vikings at New England Patriots

The Minnesota Vikings take on the New England Patriots in the pick of this week’s NFL fixtures. Looking for value in the NFL Week 13 odds? Read on to inform your NFL Week 13 predictions.

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The road to the Super Bowl

Just five regular season matches remain for teams before the playoffs and the knockout road to the Super Bowl begins in the New Year.

No side has yet been eliminated from a potential post season appearance, but around a dozen sides have seen their likelihood of extending their season fall to around 1%.

At the other extreme, six teams have at least a 90% chance of playing football in January, including Sunday’s host team, the New England Patriots and for these elite performers, the remainder of the 2018 regular season will be based around achieving the highest possible seeding.

The route to the Super Bowl can be eased considerably with a high seeding in the playoffs.

The top seeded team from each conference is guaranteed the advantage of home field for as long as they remain in the post season and along with the second seeded side, they sit out the first wildcard round of matches.

Seeds three and four host respectively the sixth and fifth seed in the opening wildcard round and if seeds begin to fall out of ranking the highest remaining seed in the final conference round is rewarded by hosting the game.

There’s plenty to play for, even with post season participation almost secured.

Inform your Patriots vs. Vikings prediction

The Patriots are again the dominant team in the AFC East.

Their three divisional rivals are averaging a net minus seven points per game differential and Brady’s side are currently 3-0 in the division, virtually ensuring a continuation of the run of winning seasons against their three divisional rivals that stretches back to realignment in 2002.

They currently lie seeded second in the AFC prior to Monday Night Football, but face stiff challenges in the conference standings from the three more competitive divisions.

The Patriot’s two “out of division” games at Pittsburgh in week 15 and beginning with the visit of Minnesota will therefore be huge factors in deciding when and where New England contest the post season.

Minnesota head the wildcard race in the NFC conference, although only the half a win gained in a tied match at Green Bay separates them from their three closest conference challengers.

Within their division, the NFC North has surprise leaders in Chicago, who have turned a 5-11 2017 season into a current division topping 8-3 record, one and a half wins ahead of the Vikings.

The Patriots are again the dominant team in the AFC East.

This has seen Minnesota’s divisional title hopes slip to just a one in five chance, although they still retain around a 60% chance of playing some part in the post season.

Realistically, they need to win in New England to keep the race for the divisional title alive heading into their potential final weekend showdown, when they host the Chicago Bears.

It has become futile to speculate about an anticipated aged related decline from Patriots’ quarterback, Tom Brady. Aside from the 2008 season, his durability in one of the most exposed positions in football is admirable and we can only look to Brady’s statistical output for clues about his current effectiveness.

Completion rates in the mid 60% range, greater than seven yards per attempt and interception rates comfortably below 2%, have been Brady’s staple production since he improved on a slight tendency to throw picks in the mid noughties and he’s maintaining that level in 2018.

He’s throwing for three tenths of a yard per attempt further than the average yardages allowed by the defenses he has faced. This isn’t quite the levels we have become accustomed to from Brady, but typically, with little dominant assistance from the ground game, he is moving the scoreboard along at impressive rates.

Overall, the Patriots score 4.5 more points per game than their opponents allow, on average.

Defensively, New England are an average unit, slightly better on the ground compared to through the air, allowing the same number of points per game as the opposing offenses are scoring, on average.

Finding value in the Patriots vs. Vikings statistics

Minnesota are a mirror image of the Patriots.

They are a mid ranking offense, average through the air and just dipping below par on the ground, leading to an average accumulation of points per game, once the defensive strength they have faced has been accounted for.

The Vikings strength lies on the defensive side of the ball, although it isn’t an ideal match up against the Patriots. They defend the run extremely well, allowing nearly a yard per attempt fewer yards than the offenses they have faced so far in 2018 achieve.

But they are only just better than par against the pass and that will allow Brady to dictate the way the game is played.

Overall they reduce the scoring efficiency of their opponents by around two points per game compared to the average scoring rate of their 2018 opponents.

Matchups favour New England to pass the ball with greater efficiency than the Vikings and when also respecting the Patriots’ ability to turn passing efficiency into points, the hosts are taken to win by six points in a game with 48 total points.

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