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Nuggetpalooza’s Gameday Preview – Vikings vs. Patriots

10.29.10 at 8:54 am ET
By

So just about the entire country will be tuning in to Foxboro at 4:15 on Sunday to see Brett Favre meet Tom Brady, er, the Vikings and the Patriots. Patriots, play some defense and rush the passer and you SHOULD be okay.

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* – Over the last 12 regular season home games for New England: 12-0. 23 or more points scored in each. 27 touchdown passes vs. just five interceptions.

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* – Tom Brady vs. Brett Favre: Catchable balls: Brady 74.2 percent (ranked first); Favre 65.4 percent (ranked 19th).

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* – The Patriots have scored 14 or more points in their last 20 games, the second longest current streak in the league (San Diego, 29).

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* – In each of the last seven seasons, the Patriots have held at least three opponents to fewer than 10 points, the longest such streak in the league since at least 1990. That streak is in serious jeopardy as they have no such games yet this season. The Vikings haven’t had even one such season since 1998. Detroit’s last season holding three or more opponents under 10 points? 1983.

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* – The last two NFL teams to win and score 23 or more points DESPITE fewer than 190 total yards were: The Vikings (a 24-21
win over Dallas in Week 6) and the Patriots (their 23-20 win at San Diego last Sunday). New England is just the second team to accomplish that in a road game since the end of the 2006 season.

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* – The Patriots have only six turnovers this season, tied for the third fewest in the league. The Bears had six turnovers just last Sunday alone.

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* – New England had just one drive of 10 or more plays last week and they capped it with a touchdown. For the season, they’re averaging 5.1 points on those drives (third). Defensively, Minnesota is allowing an average of just 2.2 points on opponent 10 play drives, fifth best in the league. It’s a different story when the Vikings have 10 play drives, as they average just 2.9 points (23rd) and the Pats allow 4.3 (28th).

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* – Minnesota has yet to scratch out any points on their opening possession in a game this year.

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* – The Patriots average starting field position last Sunday was the 44-yard-line, the best in the NFL.

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* – Watch for this: So far in 2010, the Patriots aren’t fumbling (0.53 percent of touches; ranked second) and Minnesota aren’t forcing fumbles (1.03 percent of opponent touches; ranked 28th).

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* – Minnesota’s defense has a league-high four interceptions on plays from inside their 30-yard-line this season. New England’s offense on those plays? Nine touchdowns. No interceptions.

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* – The Vikings are allowing an average of 78 passing yards in the first quarter this season, the highest in the league and on pace to be the highest since at least 2000.

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* – New England has not scored a second quarter touchdown in their last three games. Prior to this stretch, they had 26 such touchdowns in their previous 19 games. They haven’t gone four games without a second quarter touchdown since 2005. So far in 2010, the Vikings have allowed only 23 total points in the second stanza, fourth fewest in the league.

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* – Minnesota has scored a third quarter touchdown in five straight games, the longest streak in the league.

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* – The 38 rushing yards allowed by the Patriots last week was their fewest since 2005 (71 games ago).

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* – Over their last four games, Minnesota has run the ball on third or fourth down (and seven yards or fewer to go) eight times and converted the first down on all eight.

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* – The Vikings average of 5.61 yards per carry on runs up the middle leads the league. The Patriots have been pretty stout in the middle, allowing an average of 2.37 (fifth best). They are one of two teams that has not allowed a run of 10 or more yards up the middle yet.

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* – New England’s rushers have broken tackles on just 1.86 percent of rushing plays (27th), while Minnesota’s (mostly Adrian Peterson) have broken a tackle on 5.17 percent of their runs (sixth). After contact, Peterson and the Vikings are averaging 2.78 yards per carry (ranked first) and 59 percent of their rushing yards have come after contact (also first).

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* – The Patriots’ defense trails the whole world in third down conversions (48.8 percent), while the Vikings are a respectable 12th at converting third downs on offense (40.5 percent).

Regarding New England’s offense, which ranks third in overall third down conversions, consider this: On 3rd-and-1, the Patriots have converted 9-of-11 tries while Minnesota’s defense has allowed 10-for-10 conversions.

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* – New England ranks fifth in the NFL as 53.7 percent of their pass yards have come after the catch (YAC), following 58.5 percent YAC last Sunday. Here’s why to watch: 55.4 percent of pass yards against Minnesota have been YAC, the highest percentage allowed in the league.

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* – Both teams have been dinged for 11 defensive penalties this season. But the Vikings have been hit with 28 offensive penalties to just 18 against the Patriots. That’s almost more two per game.

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* – The Vikings’ defense is one of just two without a defensive pass interference penalty yet this season. Tampa Bay is the other.

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* – Neither team has shown a terribly ferocious pass rush this season as the Patriots have knocked down the opposing quarterback on just 10.2 percent of pass plays (last) and the Vikings on 11.4 percent (29th).

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* – Lost in all the fourth down hoopla: Opponents are 5-for-6 on fourth down tries against the Pats’ defense in 2010.

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