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Minnesota Vikings vs. Atlanta Falcons Point Spread - Pick ATS

Minnesota Vikings (9-2 SU, 8-3 ATS) vs. Atlanta Falcons (7-4 SU, 5-6 ATS)
NFL Week 13
Date/Time: Sunday, December 3rd, 1:00pm
Where: Mercedes-Benz Stadium - Atlanta, GA
TV: FOX
by Bob, NFL Football Handicapper, Predictem.com

Point Spread: MIN +3/ATL -3
Over/Under Total: 47.5

After the smoke has cleared in Mercedes-Benz Stadium from the SEC Championship on Saturday night, there will be another great football game taking place in the "The Benz" on Sunday when the Minnesota Vikings come into town to take on a much improved Atlanta Falcons team.  The Vikings, at 9-2 overall, lead the NFC North division and are also the number two seed in all of the NFC behind the Philadelphia Eagles.  The Falcons, who are now 7-4 overall are in third place in a very tight NFC South race with the Saints and Panthers but if the season ended today, both Carolina and Atlanta would be playoff teams...the Falcons need to continue winning to keep pace.

Although the Vikings have been the better team over the course of 2017, the Atlanta Falcons are finally looking like the NFC Champs of last season and come into this game as three point home favorites over Minnesota.  The total points of this game are set at 47.5 combined.  As of late Tuesday evening, the action was just about 50/50 on this game.  52% liked the Falcons to get the cover while 48% of the action took the underdog Vikings.  Against the spread this season, the Vikings are 8-3 while the Falcons are 5-6.  I can see this game going either direction and it should be a fun one to watch. 

Over the last three weeks, the Atlanta Falcons have looked like the team that nearly won the Super Bowl last season.  High flying offense, hard nosed defense, and a team that is finally getting the chemistry down.  For the first month or so of the season, many fans were calling for the head of new offensive coordinator, Steve Sarkisian.  He was taking the blame for many of the Falcons offensive woes, bad play calls, etc.  Now don't get me wrong, there were some bone headed play calls in some of the Falcons close losses, but as the season has progressed it appears that he and Matt Ryan are finally getting on the same page...much like Ryan and Kyle Shannahan did late in 2015 headed into 2016.  It seems that running back, Devonte Freeman, has cleared concussion protocol but even if he does not play, the Birds are in good hands offensively. Tevin Coleman and Terron Ward have handled the load well and Matt Ryan is spreading the ball around like the defending MVP that he is. The Falcons are looking better and better but there are still some issues that need to be cleared up if they plan to be a contender in the NFC.

Atlanta coach, Dan Quinn, has always prided himself on his defenses. While Atlanta still has a young defense, they are very talented.  With that being said, the penalties much stop.  There are too many situations where late hits, personal fouls, and issues like that are giving opponents longer drives and free yards.  There will come a time when a mental blunder like that could not only ruin a defensive stand but it could ruin the outcome of a game.  The Falcons are ranked in the upper half of points allowed and if the offense can keep rolling along side this defense, things could end well for Atlanta not just this Sunday but in 2017.

The Vikings are quietly becoming a team that could not only win the NFC North, but the entire NFC.  No joke.  This team has quietly gone 9-2 and are the #2 seed in the NFC to date.  Behind the leagues 5th best scoring defense, the Minnesota Vikings have won seven games in a row and are looking to run away with the NFC North title.  Not only have the Vikings played great defense but they have a top five rushing attack and are ranked in the top ten in scoring in the NFL.  And to add to that, there are rumblings that Teddy Bridgewater may be on the verge of his return after almost two years out with a devastating injury.  My question though is...do they need Teddy?  This team is clicking as is and if I am the coach, I do not make any major changes while this streak is still going.

So how does Minnesota beat Atlanta?  Defense.  The Vikings must force Matt Ryan into making mistakes.  Also, Minnesota has to find a way to stop Julio Jones.  Julio was quiet much of 2017 but this past Sunday against the Buccaneers, Atlanta made him the primary target and it paid off HUGE.  This will not be an easy task for Minnesota but this is a talented defense that can cause some chaos at times.  And they will have to do that to have any shot here.  Along with solid defense, the Vikings need to get a run game going to keep the Falcons offense off the field.  If Atlanta is able to get stops themselves and give Matt Ryan and the offense more chances, it could be a long day for Minnesota.

I think we are in store for a fun NFC showdown.  I would not be surprised to see these two teams facing off again in January but for now, this is the only game that matters.  I like what the Falcons have done lately and I really like the fact that they are at home in this game.  I think the Falcons will win a 27-23 type game this Sunday and get the cover and get their record to 8-4

Bob's Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I like the Atlanta Falcons -3 to get the home win and cover and to keep the pressure on the rest of the NFC South to continue to win. - If you went to the store and two of the same exact product were sitting side by side; One for $105.00 and one for $110.00, which would you buy? THE CHEAPER ONE OF COURSE! So why are you still betting at -110 odds when you could be betting at -105? Dump your overpriced bookie TODAY and start enjoying the benefits of discounted odds at the web's BEST sportsbook: 5Dimes!

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