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NFL Props for Thanksgiving: Trust the Pats’ Pass Defense

The smells of turkey, pumpkin spice, and NFL football are in the air. The 2022 edition of Thanksgiving has arrived, and an excellent slate is on tap. Let’s dive into our favorite NFL Props for Thanksgiving.

The New England Patriots are visiting the Minnesota Vikings — kickoff is at 8:20 ET. New England enters this primetime showdown with a 3-game winning streak and a 5-1 record since Week 5. Meanwhile, Minnesota is the first team in NFL history to win at least 8 of their first 10 games and hold a negative point differential.

The Patriots’ secondary has been dominant, and now they’ll go head-to-head with an inconsistent Vikings passing attack. Adam Thielen is clearly on the decline and after the acquisition of TJ Hockenson, he’s become decreasingly crucial to the offense. In a brutal matchup on Thursday night, it might be tough for Thielen to get going.

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NFL Props for Thanksgiving (11/24)

Adam Thielen Longest Reception Under 20.5 Yards (-115 @ DraftKings)

This prop has been a massive money-maker for us all season long. Adam Thielen is not the same player he was a few years ago. The 32-year-old has cemented his place as one of the worst after-the-catch receivers in football.

Now, with the Patriots coming to town, the chances Thielen rips off a big play on Thanksgiving night are slim.

Lack of Explosive Plays

The veteran wideout has recorded only three receptions of at least 20 yards this season. He’s seen 67 total targets and caught 45 of them, but just 6.7% of those catches have gone for 20-plus yards.

His 7.3 yards per target is the lowest mark of his nine-year career, while his 2.1 yards after the catch per reception is also a career-worst. 91 receivers and tight ends have seen at least 40 targets in 2022. Thielen ranks 90th out of 91 in YAC per reception. So, what does abysmal after-the-catch ability lead to?

The Vikes receiver has cashed this under in 7 of 10 games this season, including two misses at 21 and 22 yards. He has just one catch of more than 22 yards this season, and the recent addition of tight end TJ Hockenson only makes Thielen’s life more difficult.

Adam Thielen 2022 Game Log.
Adam Thielen 2022 Game Log.

Thielen is posting per-game averages of just 5.7 targets, 3.3 receptions, and 47.0 receiving yards since the Hockenson trade. However, before that, he averaged 7.1 targets, 5.0 receptions, and 50.1 receiving yards.

Between Thielen, Hockenson, Justin JeffersonKJ Osborn, and Dalvin Cook, there are plenty of mouths to feed in Minnesota. And, given Thielen’s decline in athleticism, there’s no clear path to production in an extraordinarily challenging Thanksgiving matchup.


The Patriots were the 3rd-ranked pass defense in 2021. Thus far, they’ve followed that up with the NFL’s number-one pass defense in 2022. Here’s where they rank this season:

  • Completion% allowed: 1st
  • Expected Points contributed: 1st
  • Passing Yards per game: 4th
  • Interceptions: 4th
  • Yards per Attempt: 6th
  • Opponent Passer Rating: 2nd

New England’s pass defense is elite. It doesn’t matter what metric you look at, and it doesn’t matter who they’re facing. The Pats are going to limit big plays and shut down opposing passing attacks.

Even if Thielen racks up the most targets he’s seen since the Hockenson trade, the Pats will probably still have his number.

Wide Receivers with at least 6 targets vs. New England this season.
Wide Receivers with at least 6 targets vs. New England this season.

New England has faced 14 receivers that have seen at least 6 targets this season. Only 5 of the 14 have recorded a reception of longer than 20 yards. And, every guy on that list is a better athlete than Thielen at this stage of his career. This matchup is nightmare-fuel for the Vikings this Thursday.


Adam Thielen is showing obvious signs of decline, and is in an offense featuring plenty of other talent. In a matchup against New England’s league-best pass defense, this is a perfect opportunity to fade the receiver.

Enjoy playing our NFL Props for Thanksgiving and Join us for the rest of the NFL season!

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