Taking Care of Business

Is anyone surprised after this game? If you are, you have not been watching the Patriots the past decade. The Patriots defeated the Minnesota Vikings 24-10 at Gillette in a game that they won handedly. All week, Minnesota was a trendy pick to go into New England and pull off an upset that would send the Pats to 8-4 and ensure they would be playing on wildcard weekend. Sure, Minnesota is a talented and well-coached team that can give most of the teams in this league a run for their money on any given Sunday. But, these are the Patriots we are talking about. They were not losing this game in their home stadium in December. This is when the Patriots play their best ball, as they typically head into the postseason with a lot of momentum. The only way the Patriots were losing this game was if they beat themselves and let the Vikings hang around. That is what happened in the first half, as the Patriots offense did not seem to have any urgency after their first drive. The game plan that Belichick and McDaniels set forth was strange to say the least. It was a very conservative approach that involved a lot of handoffs and dump-offs that allowed the Vikings to hang around. When do you ever see a Brady-led team run the ball on a 3rd down and 5? Anyways, they seemed to scratch this approach once the second half came around and that is when they were able to pull away and take control of the game. You were able to see what the offense is capable of when the full playbook is opened and TB12 gets his time in the pocket. There is too good of a quarterback at the helm and too any weapons to not have success. And despite constant criticism all season, criticism that I have agreed with, the Patriots defense balled out all game. Cousins and all of the Vikings weapons could never get into any sort of rhythm and they weren’t able to make any big plays. This defense has strung together some encouraging performances lately and they should be given a lot of credit. There is definitely a lack of talent on the defense, at least compared to the better defenses in the league, but they are playing together and confidently. Hopefully, they can pick up the offense to hold up their side of the bargain and then this team could be firing on all cylinders. The Patriots went out and took care of business today. On to Miami. Oh, and by the way, how great was that Bill Belichick and Adam Thielen interaction? That was the moment of this season so far, pure gold.

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