Two teams competing for Wild Card playoff spots in their respective divisions will meet on Sunday afternoon when the Minnesota Vikings take on the Atlanta Falcons. The game will be played at the Georgia Dome, and is scheduled to begin at 1 PM. ET.
The Vikings are coming off a tough loss to the Green Bay Packers, and blew a great opportunity to solidify their hold on the NFC North lead. In that game, the Packers held Adrian Peterson, who leads the league in rushing yards, to 45 yards. The loss also snapped Minnesota’s five game winning streak.
The Falcons started the season 5-0, but they have lost four of their last five games, including their last three. They will try to end their losing streak and keep their playoff hopes alive with a win on Sunday afternoon.
So far this season, Minnesota has one of the best defenses in the league, and they are holding their opponents to 18.4 points per game, which is the third best defensive average in the NFL.
Offensively, Minnesota hasn’t been as dominant. The team currently averages 188.1 yards through the air, which is 30th in the league. A big reason why they have struggled throwing the ball is the fact that they are a power running team.
The Vikings offense averages 141.9 yards on the ground, thanks largely to Peterson, but their lack of a consistent passing game makes their offense very predictable. The Vikings are expected to feed Peterson the ball as much as possible against the Falcons, but they also need to get the passing game going so the Falcons defense doesn’t focus all their attention on Peterson.
Atlanta has a very potent passing game thanks to Matt Ryan and Julio Jones. This season, the Falcons are averaging 287 yards through the air, which is the fifth best mark in the league, and they are averaging 25 points per game, which is the 8th best average in the league.
Defensively, Atlanta is holding opponents to 21.4 points per game, which is 12th in the league but they have struggled against the pass this season, which has cost them a few games.
The Falcons will likely be without their leading rusher Devonta Freeman, who is recovering from a concussion he suffered last week against the Indianapolis Colts. If Freeman is unable to play on Sunday, the Falcons will be in trouble because the Vikings will go after Ryan and try to force him to make a few mistakes.
With the Seattle Seahawks and Tampa Bay Buccaneers right behind them in the playoff standings, the Falcons can’t afford to lose many more games, which is why this is such a big game for them.
Falcons vs Vikings Betting Lines
The Falcons have been very inconsistent lately, and haven’t played well despite facing only one team with a winning record all season. This is why I’m picking the Vikings to win the game and put some pressure on the Green Bay Packers in the NFC North.
Play: Vikings +1.5