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Week 13 Patriots vs Vikings: 4 New England defenders to watch against Minnesota

Can they use this game as a springboard?

New England Patriots v New York Jets Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images

Hey everyone — my hiatus is finally over and I’m back behind the keyboard doing Patriots articles again. With this week’s matchup against the Minnesota Vikings, I wanted to touch on what I believe could be a turning point in the team’s defense.

We’ve all heard how this Pats defense isn’t up to par, haven’t we? I think this defense can hold its own when it matters, but it needs to show it on the field on a week-to-week basis. I’m not by any means saying that it is a special defense, just one that will continue to bend without totally breaking “God willing.” Without any further ado, let’s get into some players on defense who I think will make a big impact this week.

Kyle Van Noy

It’s probably not totally shocking to some who know me, but he’s been rock solid this season. I think he gets a bad rap from media types in this area. I don’t really get that honestly. Why? Because he’s not flashy? I always say he’s the mashed potatoes on a plate, he just continually does the job when called upon. This week, he along with the other linebackers will have his hands full with Dalvin Cook coming out of the backfield. Teams love using crossing routes on them, something that has been successful. I would put Van Noy on Cook most of the time if possible. When he’s not spying on him, bring him down on the edge and attack quarterback Kirk Cousins. I think he’s a better blitzer than he gets credit for.

Adrian Clayborn

I would imagine people would have expected Trey Flowers here, but I’ve got a hunch Clayborn is gonna have a big game this week. The Vikings’ line is vulnerable with pressure from the edges. I think he’s one of those players whose job isn’t getting told largely due for his lack of sacks. This could very well be the week we see him finish on his pressures and get a few.

Patrick Chung

We all know what Chung brings to the table, especially against tight ends. This week will be no different when he’s matched up with Kyle Rudolph. The Vikings have an arsenal of weapons at their disposal; keeping Rudolph in check will definitely make things easier. I would also like to throw in Obi Melifonwu, as he’s gonna find a niche in this defense and he very well could get some time on him.

Jason McCourty

What a story he’s been this year. I don’t know about you, but I considered him a bubble player going into the fourth preseason game. You could make a case he’s been the second best player in the entire secondary this season. He will have his hands full in this game with Stephon Gilmore likely drawing Stefon Diggs (I know he has missed practice with a knee issue, but I suspect he will play). Gilmore could also draw Adam Thielen, who is an absolute menace. I don’t think I need to tell you how nasty he is, since you probably already know. I think no matter who McCourty gets, he will do a good enough job so we don’t have to reach for the Tums.

I think the Pats come out and perform this week and get a big win at The Razor. What I’m hoping for is a solid defensive effort that they can build on going forward. Like I stated earlier, I still have faith in this defense. I love the defensive side of the ball and always have. I think Flores has done a good job in his first season running the defense. I know it is a team effort, but wanted to point out he’s done pretty darn good. That’s it for this week — as always follow me on Twitter @Chris_Blackey.