PFF Preview: Patriots @ Vikings, Week 2
The 0-1 New England Patriots visit the 1-0 Minnesota Vikings on Sunday with hopes of rebounding and avoiding the infamous 0-2 start. Going into the season, many pundits would have had this game pegged as a solid win for the Patriots, but this now has the look of a competitive matchup.
The Patriots are coming off of a tough road loss at Miami, a game in which they led by 10 points in the second half. The Pats’ offensive line struggled across the board without a single player grading in the green. On the defensive side of the ball, their front seven struggled to make any impact in the running game — the normally solid Jerod Mayo and Jamie Collins combined for a -6.4 grade vs the run.
The Vikings took care of business in St. Louis last Sunday against an outgunned Rams team. They overmatched the Rams’ offensive line with consistent pressure from their front four and, as a team, generated five sacks, eight hits, and 15 hurries. On the offensive side of the ball, the Vikings ran it effectively, with a +7.3 team run blocking grade, and made enough plays in the passing game to keep the ball moving.
Here are a couple of other notables for each team.
New England Patriots
Rob Gronkowski – In only 38 Week-1 snaps Gronk put up a +1.8 overall grade and performed solidly with mild positives in receiving, run blocking, and in pass protection. Targeted 11 times, only four were completed.
Tom Brady – Brady is coming off of his lowest graded game (-3.2) since Week 7 of last year. Of 11 attempts aimed outside the numbers and deeper than 10 yards downfield, he completed none.
Dont’a Hightower – Hightower made a huge impact last Sunday and has now graded positively in his last seven games. He had five QB pressures on 17 pass-rushing snaps against Miami and currently leads 3-4 OLB’s with a 22.1 Pass Rushing Productivity rating.
Rhett Ellison – Ellison is our top-graded tight end at the moment, mostly due to his dominance in the run game (especially in two TE sets). His +4.5 run block grade paces all at the position.
Brian Robison and Everson Griffen – Currently ranked first and seventh, respectively, among 4-3 DE’s in our Pass Rushing Productivity Signature Stat, Griffen has a PRP rating of 15.7 and Robison clocks in with a solid 10.0.
Josh Robinson – The much-maligned Robinson of 2013 started off 2014 with a bang. His +2.7 grade was the best of his young career, allowing just one of three balls his way to be completed, he intercpeted one and earned a pass defense on the other.
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