Atlanta Falcons vs. Minnesota Vikings Preview and Pick – Week 16 NFL Picks

Atlanta Falcons (9-5) +3, 44 O/U at Minnesota Vikings (9-5)
Metrodome, Minneapolis, M.N., 4:15PM Eastern, Sunday

By Jay Horne of

The Metrodome host the site of two teams squaring off in attempt to keep their playoff hopes alive this Sunday afternoon. The Vikings have won their last 4 games and hold a one game advantage over the Chicago Bears with two games left. Atlanta scored a big win last weekend in overtime against Tampa Bay and they are in a 3 way tie for the NFC wildcard position. The game will be huge for both teams as neither team can afford to lose.

The Atlanta Falcons are playing very well behind the play of rookie sensation Matt Ryan. Ryan has looked like a wily veteran in his first career season at quarterback. The rookie has completed 62% of his passes on the season for 3,146 yards and 14 touchdowns along with 9 interceptions. Ryan has been very solid down the stretch giving the Falcons consistency behind center. Ryan solid play has been a leading role in the Falcons success this season, but it has been the play on the ground that has really propelled the Atlanta offense. Atlanta ranks 1st in the NFL in rushing offense heading into this weeks match-up averaging 149 yards per game on the ground. The Falcons hope their running game will be able to over shadow another strong running team in Minnesota.

The Vikings rank 3rd best in the NFL in rushing yards averaging 146 yards per game on the ground. Minnesota has based their offense around the legs of 2nd year player Adrian Peterson. Peterson leads the NFL in individual rushing yards with a strong 1,581 yards on the season. Peterson has been the work horse for the Vikings carrying the ball 320 times and amassing 4.9 yards per carry with 9 touchdowns. However, the real story in this game might land on the play of the Minnesota defense. The Vikings defense ranks 1st in the NFL in rush defense holding opponents to 71 yards per game on the ground. The Vikings will need to continue that stellar defensive play against a Falcon team that moves the ball on the ground.

Sportsbooks have opened the betting line favoring the home team Vikings slightly by a field goal over the Atlanta Falcons. Early betting action shows that the public is pretty split favoring the Vikings by a slight margin ATS. The over/under for the contest has been posted at 44 point total. ML numbers have the Vikings listed as -175 favorites and the Falcons as +155.

This particular match-up features two of the best running backs in the NFL and the Falcons hope their star can out perform Adrian Peterson. Falcons running back Michael Turner has led the 5th ranked overall NFL offense this season. Turner has racked up 1,421 yards on the ground this season ranking 2nd individually behind Adrian Peterson. Turner has also been responsible for 15 touchdowns this season. When the Falcons are not keeping the ball on the ground, QB Matt Ryan will be looking to hookup with play maker Roddy White. White has 1,310 receiving yards this season and is averaging a strong 16 yards per catch. White also has 6 touchdowns on the season. The Falcons hope to get some of their key players to come up big this Sunday.

Minnesota ranks 8th in the NFL in total defense holding opposing offenses to 293 yards per game. In the Vikings last 5 games, they have held teams to under 20 points in every game. Minnesota has also averaged 30 points per game in their last 4 match-ups. When both sides of the ball are playing as well as the Vikings has been you get good results. The Vikings will look for their defense to keep up the pace as they have in recent weeks when they play in one of their biggest games of the year this Sunday. A Minnesota win this week would officially clinch the NFC North for the Vikings.

Betting Trends
Minnesota has had an amazing trend going on the over in 9 of their last 13 games. The Vikings are 3-2 ATS in their last two games and are 8-2 SU in their last 10 games. The Falcons have found the under total in 6 of their last 9 games and also 15 of their last 20 games. Atlanta is 5-2 SU in their past 7 games as well.

Jays Pick Two superb running games collide meaning that the clock should be rolling in this game. Hope for the big plays to be kept to a minimum and take the under 44.