Minnesota Vikings at Atlanta Falcons (-1.5, 45.5 o/u)
While both teams are currently holding down an NFC wilcard neither the Minnesota Vikings (7-3, 3-2 Away) or the Atlanta Falcons (6-4, 3-2 Home) had a good showing last weekend. Now they’ll aim to bounce back when Minnesota visits Atlanta this Sunday at the Georgia Dome (1:00 PM Eastern).
The Vikings saw a five-game winning streak come to an end after a 30-13 home loss against the Green Bay Packers last week. Minnesota piled up yards against the Packers but had problems scoring points.
“I’m disappointed in our performance, but I’m not discouraged about our future,” coach Mike Zimmer told the Associated Press. “I still believe in this football team, and I believe in everything about us.”
Adrian Peterson had only 45 yards in 13 carries last week; he did find the end zone once, but he was averaging 143.6 rushing yards in the previous three games.
“We were out of sync, out of whack,” said Adrian Peterson after the game.
The Vikings still will have a lot to say with six games left on the calendar and a visit to Green Bay in Week 17.
The Atlanta Falcons have a lot of issues, and they know things are getting complicated for their playoffs aspirations. The Falcons have dropped four of their last five since starting the season 5-0, including a 24-21 defeat against the Indianapolis Colts last week that saw the visiting team score 10 points in the fourth quarter.
Thirteen teams in NFL history have missed the playoffs since starting 5-0. Atlanta is 3-2 straight up at home this season, but has lost the last two in a row.
“The bear is not loose here inside the building. I want to make sure we’re really clear on that,” the first-year coach Dan Quinn told the Associated Press. “We’ve got a really talented team and a coaching staff that really believes in these guys.”
One of the biggest concerns the Atlanta Falcons have comes on the offensive side as QB Matt Ryan threw three touchdown passes and three interceptions against the Colts last week. Ryan has 15 touchdowns and ten interceptions this season, including an 89.6 passer rating.
“I’m 100 percent healthy,” Ryan replied to the rumors that said he’s dealing with knee injury. “I think I’ve said this five or six different times now, and hopefully this will be the last time I have to talk about it: I’ve worn a brace on my left knee since I was a senior in college. Anybody who looks at a picture from 2008 will see the same thing.”
The Vikings are 7-2 ATS in their last nine games following a SU loss and 4-0 ATS in their last four road games. The Falcons are 0-6 ATS in their last six games overall and 2-5 ATS in their last seven home games. With Atlanta on such a rough slide, it’s hard to trust them, especially as a favorite. Roll with Minnesota this week.
Pick: Vikings +1.5.
(Photo credit: Jeffrey Beall (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons)