Patriots @ Vikings – 8:30 Monday Night

By viks_fan21 (from footballfuture.com, forums)

Brad Johnson vs. NE secondary
The New England secondary, highlighted by strong safety Rodney Harrison and emerging players Ellis Hobbs and Eugene Wilson, seems to have the better of this matchup. Matchup Factor – 3 (in NE’s favor)

Tom Brady vs. MIN secondary
Despite having playmakers such as Antoine Winfield and Darren Sharper, the Vikings secondary appears to be outmatched by Tom Brady, considered by many to be the NFL’s elite QB. Matchup Factor – 3 (in NE’s favor)

NE WRs vs. MIN CBs
The Patriots have a decent foursome of wide receivers, but none of them have yet emerged as a big time players. Fred Smoot and Winfield, figure to outmatch NE’s starters, so nickel CB Ronyell Whitaker vs. Doug Gabriel figures to be an important matchup. Matchup Factor – 4 (in MIN’s favor)

MIN WRs vs. NE CBs
Minnesota’s entire receiving corps, which was far from spectacular to begin with, is banged up pretty severely. However, with Asante Samuel and Ellis Hobbs, two young players, starting for the Patriots, this matchup could go either way. Matchup Factor – 0

MIN O-line vs. NE D-line
The Vikings’ offensive line, led by veterans Steve Hutchinson and Matt Birk, seems to slightly overmatch defensive line of the Patriots, which features Richard Seymour, one of the league’s premier defensive ends. The X-factor will be backup Jarvis Green, who has 4.5 sacks despite limited playing time. Matchup Factor – 1 (in MIN’s favor)

NE O-line vs. MIN D-line
The Patriots’ offensive line, anchored by guards Logan Mankins and Steve Neal, as well as left tackle Matt Light, will have to be on top of their game to contain Minnesota’s relentless pass-rush, although New England appears ready for the challenge. The health of Neal will be key, as containing the “Williams brothers” is hard enough with a healthy line. Matchup Factor – 1 (in MIN’s favor)

Chestor Taylor vs. Mike Vrabel, Tedy Bruschi, Junior Seau, and Rosevelt Colvin
Despite being the NFL’s second leading rusher, Chestor Taylor appears to have his work cut out for him as he faces one of the best linebacker corps in the league. 3 of NE’s starting linebackers have 32+ tackles, with Colvin being the odd-man out. Matchup Factor – 2 (in NE’s favor)

Corey Dillon/Laurence Maroney vs. Napoleon Harris, Ben Leber, and E.J. Henderson
This could be the game’s key matchup, which includes both a former 1,600 yard rusher and a future one pinned up against a surprising Minnesota squad. Henderson and Harris account for 68 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and 3 interceptions in just 6 games thus far, and will look to continue their playmaking ways. Matchup Factor – 3 (in NE’s favor)

While this is far from a scientific approach, New England scored 11 points on the Matchup Stick while Minnesota scored just 6.

All sillyness aside, I think that we have our work cut out for us facing, as mentioned, the NFL’s best QB. They also have 2 stud running backs, which is > our 1. As I said in last week’s game, our pass-rush is the key. If Tommy Boy can set his feet and find his receivers, we may as well just go home. However, with Neal hampered by an injury, the Williams brothers need to step it up and get some pressure on.

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