Minnesota Vikings (7-3 SU, 8-2 ATS) vs. Atlanta Falcons (6-4 SU, 4-6 ATS)
NFL Week 12
Date/Time: Sunday, November 29, 1:00pm
Where: Georgia Dome Atlanta, GA
by Bob, NFL Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: MIN +2.5 / ATL -2.5
Over/Under Total: 46
Sunday in the Georgia Dome, there is an NFC match up that could determine the playoff picture when the Vikings come to town to play the Atlanta Falcons. Minnesota comes in at 7-3 overall and second place in the NFC North, while the Falcons sit at 6-4 and second place in the NFC South. Currently, these two teams are leading the wild card and if the season ended today, both would make the playoffs. However, the Falcons are teetering on the brink of disaster after starting 5-0, while Minnesota has been a bit of a surprise all season. Just last season, the Falcons went into Minnesota and were absolutely destroyed by Teddy Bridgewater and the Vikings. Atlantas offense did its job for the most part, but the birds defense was torched by the rookie. Of course, the Atlanta defense is much improved in 2015, but they are going to need a total team effort to keep from going 6-5 after such a promising start to the season.
The line opens on this game with the Falcons as a 2.5 point favorite over the Vikings while the posted total is 46 combined points. Against the spread this season, the Vikings have been even more impressive than their overall record. At 7-3 on the season, the Vikings are 8-2 against the spread. The Falcons started out 5-0 on the season and 4-1 against the spread this year, but since that time, boy, have they struggled. As we speak, 67% are taking of the Falcons decline and are taking the Vikings in this one. Is this too easy of a pick?
The Falcons, like I have said a few times already, started the 2015 campaign 5-0 and not only that, they swept the NFC East 4-0. At one time that seemed impressive, but the more the season plays out, it appears the NFC East is a dumpster fire in the making. You could see a 7-9 or 8-8 team win that division. The Falcons have some bad losses, really bad losses. Home to Tampa, home to Indianapolis in a game that saw Andrew Luck on the sidelines, and a road loss to at the time a struggling Saints team, oh, and that AWFUL offensive performance against a bad San Francisco team. The Falcons need to figure this thing out, and fast, or before you know it, they will find themselves on the outside of the playoff hunt looking in. The Dan Quinn Era started with a bang, and most people in Atlanta believe that he has done a great job in his first season, especially with the defense. What has been strange is the Falcons lack of offense. What was at one time one of the most feared offenses in the league, has had major issues scoring. Even their once money kicker, Matt Bryant, is missing easy field goals. Something just isnt right with this offense. Is it the play of Matt Ryan? Is it Kyle Shannahans scheme? Is it again the O line? This offense is a mystery and they need to get on track, and fast. That is the key this weekend. Atlanta needs to score. It has been over a month since they have put up over 28 points and in two of their games recently, the Falcons did not even crack the 17 point mark. Missed field goals, bad play calling, turnovers, and all that mess will not get it done this weekend. The time is NOW to get it together offense.
The Vikings have been a pleasant surprise in the NFL this season. At 7-3, they are tied with the Green Bay Packers in the NFC North, but Green Bay currently holds the tie breaker for head to head games. Minnesotas success has been somewhat of a mystery. Yes they have a top three rushing attack and the 3rd ranked scoring defense in all of the NFL, but their passing offense and scoring is bad. Minnesota only averages 21 points a game on offense, and Teddy Bridgewater has the pass offense ranked 30th in the NFL just barely passing for 175 a game. Now, the passing game is not needed when you rush as well as they do, but at some point someone is going to make Bridgewater win with his armthe question is, can he? The Falcons have a very good run defense, one of the top in the NFL, will this be the weekend that Bridgewater is called on to make the plays to win? To get their eighth win of the season, the Vikings will need to be balanced on offense. They cannot bank on 140+ yards against this revived Falcons defense. Also, the Vikings defense needs to force turnovers, which Atlanta has been prone to do. Do this, and take your win to the bank.
The Falcons are desperate for a win. I will keep this simple, a loss for the Birds at home again, could lead to a complete meltdown. I think Atlanta comes out and gets the win this weekend. It will be ugly but I like a 19-14 Falcons win.
Bobs Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Take the Falcons -2.5
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