Sunday’s game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Atlanta Falcons will be an exciting NFC battle between two teams trying to lock down their playoff positions. The Vikings are leading the NFC North and have a one game edge for the #2 seed in the conference. The Falcons are fighting for a wild card sport and need this victory to stay in contention. Kickoff inside the Mercedes-Benz Stadium is at 1 PM ET.
Since 1999, these teams have played against each other 10 times. During that span, both teams have won 5 games apiece. The Vikings have won two straight against the Falcons, including the last time they played each other which was almost 2 years ago to the day. The Vikings won that game 20-10.
Minnesota (9-2) comes into this matchup on a 7 game winning streak. They have practically locked up the NFC North division, provided they don’t collapse over the rest of the season. The Vikings are 7-1 against the NFC and 4-1 on the road. They look to keep pace with the Eagles who have the best record in the NFL and lead the NFC conference. Minnesota is an underdog heading into this matchup and could further their case as one of the top teams in the NFL by beating Atlanta on the road.
The Falcons (7-4) have won 3 straight games and currently sit one game back of the NFC South leading Saints. Atlanta got a crucial win over Seattle two weeks ago, which boosts their chances of a Wild Card spot. The Falcons are 6-1 against the NFC and 3-0 against the NFC North. They look to sweep the division by beating the Vikings this weekend.
The spread opened with Atlanta favored by 2.5 points at home. It has currently gone up to 3 points. The Over/Under opened at 47.5 points and has gone down to 47 total points.
When you think of the Falcons, you think of an explosive offense with playmakers at every key position. But, did you know that the Vikings are actually outperforming the Falcons on offense? Minnesota is ahead of Atlanta in the following key offensive areas: Minnesota is 5th in the league with 375.7 ypg compared to Atlanta’s 373.4 ypg, Vikings are 8th in scoring at 24.6 ppg and the Falcons are 11th at 24.1 ppg.
Now, combine those surprising offensive numbers with the success that Minnesota has on defense and you can see why the Purple People Eaters are one of the best teams in the league. You can also see why they will win this game outright.
Getting 3 points in this matchup is the cherry on top as I believe Minnesota will win this game in Atlanta and further cement their place at the top of the conference right below Philly.
Defensively, Minnesota features a smothering secondary and one of the best rush defenses in the league. They have the players to defend against one of the league’s best receivers in Julio Jones. Vikings corner Xavier Rhodes is a shutdown corner who usually takes the opposing team’s number one receiver right out of the game. He will definitely prevent Julio from taking over this game and help the Vikings defense contain this Atlanta offense.
Atlanta is getting back their #1 RB in Freeman who has been out with a concussion, but he’s going up against a Minnesota rush defense that only allows 75 ypg. The duo of Coleman and Freeman will have difficulties moving the ball this week.
The Vikings only allow 17.7 pp, which is a touchdown less than what Atlanta scores per game. Over their 3 game winning streak, Atlanta has averaged over 30 ppg. That won’t happen this weekend. In fact, I would be surprised if Atlanta even breaks 21 points.
I expect this Minnesota defense to make life hard for Matt Ryan and company. It’s going to take the Atlanta defense forcing turnovers for the Falcons to really have a shot in this game. Atlanta has definitely got into a groove over the last month, but they’re going up against one of the league’s top defenses and a surprisingly good offense.
Minnesota has turned the corner offensively as backup QB Case Keenum has found his confidence and is leading this offense to victory each week. Additionally, the running game has also found its legs with Murray and McKinnon leading a unit that averages 124.5 ypg. Atlanta allows 114 ypg on the ground and I believe this is where Minnesota will gain the advantage. Look for the Vikings to ground and pound the Falcons to move the chains, control the clock, win the field position battle, and keep Atlanta’s offense off the field.
Also, one more advantage for Minnesota is that Atlanta might be without their top 2 corners due to injuries. If that’s true, then you can expect Thielen and Diggs to have a bigger impact on the game and the Vikes will use the passing attack to soften the defense for their rushing attack. Either way, Vikings win this game 24-20.
The Vikings are 8-3 ATS this season, 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games and 15-8 ATS in their last 23 road games. Atlanta is 1-3-1 ATS in their last 5 games against the Vikings and 2-4-1 ATS in their last 7 home games versus Minnesota.