Atlanta Falcons (2-1 SU, 2-1 ATS) vs. Minnesota Vikings (1-2 SU, 1-2 ATS)
NFL Week 4
Date and Time: Sunday, September 28, 4:25pm EST
Where: TCF Bank Stadium – Minneapolis, MN
by Bob, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: ATL -3/MIN +3
Over/Under Total: 47
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Sunday afternoon, the Atlanta Falcons will invade Minnesota to take on the Vikings in an early season NFC contest. The Falcons come in at 2-1 with an overall record, and that is also their record against the spread. Minnesota on the other hand, has had a rough start to this very young season coming in at 1-2. The Falcons open up as a three point road favorite, and the total points are set at 47. On the surface, I see this game as a trap simply because the average NFL fan would assume the Falcons could go into this game, get an easy win, then fly back south. As we have all learned many times, the NFL is tricky, and the bookmakers in Vegas know exactly what they are doing. Lets take a moment to look closer at this game to get on the right side of this one.
Minnesota has a mess on their hands. Adrian Peterson is gone for who knows how long, and now that Matt Cassel is injured with fractures in his foot, rookie quarterback, Teddy Bridgewater will be getting his first start as a professional QB. Through three games, the Vikings offense has been bad, real bad. They are ranked 31s in the league in passing, and 24th in rushing. Without Peterson, the Vikes are not even reaching an average of 100 yards a game. That would not be an issue, but the offense is also not even reaching the 200 yards passing range. The only thing keeping this team afloat, if you want to call them afloat, is their defense. Minnesota ranks in the NFLs top 15 in both passing yards allowed and rushing yards allowed. This task against the Falcons will not be easy. Atlanta has a high flying passing attack that to date will be the best the Vikes have faced. The key to this game for the Vikings is to make Matt Ryan uncomfortable. If Minnesota can replicate what the Cincinnati Bengals did to Matty Ice, then they could stick around long enough to make this a game. If Matt Ryan has time in the pocket, I can see this game getting away from Minnesota quickly. Another key will be to make Teddy Bridgewater’s job as easy as possible. The Vikings do not want to make him win this game himself…he wont. Minnesota needs a balanced attack of running and passing to keep Teddy and Company alive. The Falcons defense is ok, but nothing to really fear. Minnesota could very well have some success on Sunday.
DUMP YOUR BOOKIE! STOP LAYING -110
ODDS; START LAYING -105 AT 5DIMES
After what the Atlanta Falcons did to the Tampa Bay Bucaneers on Thursday night football, the league needs to fine the dirty birds for abuse. The Falcons put a massive beatdown on their inner division rival in front of the whole nation. Atlanta had a 56-0 lead heading into the 4th quarter. That ranks as the 2nd largest deficit through three quarters in NFL history, 2nd to only the 2009 Patriots who led the Titans 59-0 after three quarters. Now, that is behind the Falcons. This Minnesota team has much more fight in them than the Bucs do. The Falcons will be replying heavily on their passing game which of course is led by Matt Ryan. Through three games, Ryan has already thrown for nearly 1,000 yards and seven touchdown passes. Not only has the passing game been as good as ever, but the Falcons are actually getting a little help from the running game as well. The Falcons rank right in the middle of the NFL with a little over 120 yards a game rushing. This run game is led by Stephen Jackson, but Jacquizz Rodgers, Antoine Smith, and in some cases, Devin Hester has helped the ground attack too. The only question mark on the offensive side of the ball this week is the status of Roddy White. Roddy says he is going to play, but the Falcons staff has not made an official decision just yet and probably will not until late Saturday or early Sunday. As the offense goes, the Falcons seem to go, but in this game, they need to get after the rookie early and often. If Atlanta can rattle Bridgewater early on and force him to make some costly mistakes, I can see Atlanta getting up and pulling away even before half time. The pass defense is key. They are ranked just 25th in the NFL, and if they allow Teddy Bridgewater to get confident, then they may catch themselves in a shootout.
Bob’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: This spread seems to be a trap. Who would think that the Vikings, going through all they have gone through in the last two to three weeks could hang with such an explosive team like the Falcons? Well, who would have picked Cleveland to beat the Saints (other than me…because I did)? I never do this, I really don’t, but I am going to take the bait. 81% of the action is on Atlanta as we speak, and I think this spread may go up to 4-4.5 before it is all said and done. I am taking the Falcons now. I made this mistake of picking against them minus the seven this past Thursday night versus Tampa, I will not underestimate them again. I dont see a Tampa type blowout happening, but I like Atlanta to go on the road and win this game 30-17. PICK ATLANTA -3!!!